Today my lessons failed. Students didn’t following directions (students didn’t read the directions), some were off task, others were distracted by their phone–people were more concerned about tonight’s football game than anything going on in my class. In addition to this we had a new student and numerous quirky tech issues that required my attention.
I Didn’t Revert–I Didn’t Want To
I fought the urge to just say, “Everyone, shut up!” “Put that away!” “Ok, since no one knows how to follow instructions, I guess I need to treat you like kindergarteners!” But, the urge really wasn’t that strong. If it was, I would have reverted to my old behavior–which is what I tend to do under stress. But, I didn’t revert. I didn’t make sarcastic remarks or engage in passive-aggressive behavior. More importantly, I didn’t jettison the notion of a student-centered classroom. This is when you know change has really occurred–when you are tested. And today I was tested. The system was tested, my classroom was tested.
I Found My Wins
I was calm and tried to address each need as it came up and now that I realize it, I had several wins in the process. I engaged with an off-task student who had dug himself quite a hole–I don’t think he had done anything all year. So, I told him I would give him credit for the first three assignments if he wrote up a proposal for a club he wants to start. He said he would rather do a Google Slides presentation. Perfect!
I got to sit down and talk with my new student. Normally, with everything that was going on, she might have fallen through the cracks.
I helped several individuals do something tech-related that they had never done before. And, some students were able to complete some assignments.
My biggest failure was instructing the students to engage in silent reading for the new novel I had assigned. That…didn’t happen. So we will need to modify that–probably go back to a student choice situation.
Slow down, practice
We will need to simplify the directions (there are probably too many), practice our routines and transitions a bit more (I have been introducing 1 new thing per day–that is way too much).
But, that’s ok. I weathered the storm. I believe in what I’m doing. I’m not going to hide my failures. I will share them and learn from them.