What topic for next year are you most hesitant about?
I am in a strange situation with this because I have less topic control than I have had for four years. Since we have five teachers, and we are rotating writing duties, I am the teacher between writing duties this coming year. I have no assigned grade level to write, and in many ways that is a relief and in many ways for my control-obsessed self that is terrifying.
I am hesitant about fables. A lot of people love Aesop's fables. I can get into them, so don't get me wrong, and my favorite fable by far is the "Rana et Bos" because exploding frogs are just naturally compelling story pieces. But I have had some real struggles trying to get students to engage with fables in a meaningful way, and for me, a lot of fables are just not compelling to students like they are to me. It's like I can care about them because I see where they fit in terms of Roman society and morality, but that falls flat for students and, really, when you have to explain a story to death before it has meaning for someone, it stops being all that interesting.
So I tend to be wary about the fable units. I know people that don't have these misgivings, so it's definitely a me thing and one of the things that can come up from teaching with some really great colleagues who are amazing and creative is the bad habit (it's a really bad habit--you can read Keith's Toda's musings about it here) of comparing yourself to them and their strengths. This is one of those. Both Bob and Miriam are really good at bringing depth to their units without it feeling like they're dragging the students through a morality lesson; I tend to somehow stumble around and rehash the information so it feels sermony. Which is totally a word.
Since I won't have control next year, I both won't be able to just avoid fables and won't have say in which fables will be chosen. That scares me a bit, but these things make us grow, too.