Lessons Learned from the Worst Lesson Ever

August 29, 2017 No Comments

Lessons Learned from the Worst Lesson Ever

August 29, 2017 No Comments

Teacher friends, today was a hard day.

I walked out of my classroom this afternoon with my head hung and my confidence shot.  This afternoon, in my seventh year of teaching, I experienced one of the worst lessons I have ever taught.  It wasn’t pretty.

Let me give you some backstory to start.  My grade level recently agreed to pilot a new math program.  We were super excited to get our materials — student books, teacher guides, tons of new math manipulatives, center games, and more — and begin teaching this week.  We planned last week and, over the weekend, I poured over the new materials to prepare for the coming week.  I knew that my students would struggle with the material, so I prepared some supplemental materials.  We were ready.

Sometimes, however, you just can’t be prepared enough.  I don’t know if it was the material was too hard or the fact that it was directly after lunch and the attention span of my third graders was lacking. When my students’ eyes started to glaze over and their attentiveness started to fade, I realized the lesson was going south.  I tried to redirect and pull out some fun, hands-on material… only to be met with what seemed like chaos.  Too much.  Too soon.  It was a disaster.  They were lost and I was only confusing them more.

The lesson bombed.  HARD.

I am a seventh year teacher, by no means a pro, but also far from a beginner.  I’ve grown tremendously in the last seven years and I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work.  I’ve also learned that sometimes, no matter how much you prepare and plan for the unexpected… sometimes, your lesson just sucks.

And you know what?  It’s okay.

My confidence took a major blow and we lost nearly an hour of instructional time, but it’s okay.  After the manipulative fiasco, I had my students calmly put away their materials (they did so wonderfully) and close their books.  After taking a quick thumbs up/thumbs down assessment of the room to confirm my fears that about four of my students were understanding today’s lesson, I did something some teachers would never dare to do.

I apologized.

Even reflecting upon the lesson, I’m not sure where it went wrong, but I know that it was not my students’ fault.  It was mine.  I apologized to my students and assured them that it wasn’t their fault that they didn’t understand.  I told them we’d come back to it tomorrow after I’d had time to come up with a better plan.  Then, we moved on.

Bad lessons happen, teachers.  It does not matter how prepared you are or how well you know the content or your students, bad lessons happen.  Hopefully, they do not happen often, but they will happen.  You show the kind of teacher you are by how you react to it.  Will you blame your students for not paying attention or understanding?  Or will you reflect upon your practice and work to be better?  There’s always a lesson for you to learn.

Keep at it, teacher friends.  Your students depend on you.  And remember, even on the bad days, you make a difference.

sherylwoods

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  • Adam Watson September 3, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you for being brave enough to fail forward!

  • Leave a Reply

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    About Me

    About Me

    Hi! My name is Sheryl and I am so thankful you've found your way to the TeacherLadyKY blog! I'm an elementary educator from Louisville, Kentucky who is passionate about building relationships and literacy skills with my students. I've taught everything from kindergarten to fifth grade and I can't wait to share my experiences with you! Enjoy! Read More

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    • This week's #bulletjournal setup. Usually, I do a day at a time, but after binge watching see @amandarachlee on YouTube this weekend, I thought I'd set it all up at once. One thing I love about my #bujo is that I can do WHATEVER I want, WHENEVER I want to. 😁
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At the end of the day, all you have is your dreams. Don't let someone else take that you. Know what you want and make it manifest in your life.#besavagenotaverage #thebestisyettocome #teacherladyky .
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    • A couple of nights ago, this sweet boy scared the crap out of us. He couldn't stand and, once he did stand, he just lobbed from side to side like he was unable to hold his balance. Then, as suddenly as it started, it was over. Five minutes at the most. .
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It's happened once before, months ago, and the vet who saw him a few hours after it happened said he checked out perfectly healthy. We think it's vertigo, but it happens so suddenly and goes so quickly, that it seems there's nothing we could do to stop it from happening.  I hate that I don't know when it will happen (or if it even will happen again) and I have there's nothing I can do for my sweet boy.
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I've spent my morning doing lesson plans and working on some new TPT products. I have housework to do (so much housework to do), but I love a good laid back, productive Saturday morning and I wish every day could be this way.
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What are you doing on this dreary day? And, if you're local, what's your snow prediction? πŸ€”β„οΈπŸ€”β„οΈπŸ€”
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If your dream is to serve others, then by all means, go do THAT.  But do not put their needs above your own.  If what is happening in your life doesn't align with the goals that you've set forth in your life, it's time to let it (or them) go.  You only purpose to be the best, most authentic version of you.  First, foremost, and always.
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Crow: But, mom, it's windy outside and I'm scared...
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I spent the majority of the day attending doctor's appointments and listening to Brendon Burchard's book, "High Performance Habits." Like I've mentioned before, I've been stuck lately and the first part of his book is about finding clarity in your life.
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I NEEDED to hear him tell the story of one of his clients who was great at what she did, but still felt stuck. It's hard not to feel guilty about admitting that what you're doing isn't what you want, especially when you've poured years of work and thousands of dollars to get there. That's where I'm at right now. I feel restless, unfulfilled, and uninspired.
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Let me be clear, I LOVE what I do. I love my job, my students, and my life. But something is off and it's not enough. I've been searching for a long time trying to figure out what it is and I am getting closer.  I AM a teacher, but so much more than that too. I am always learning, always growing, always working on my next great adventure. I hope you are too. #BeSavageNotAverage #thebestisyettocome
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    • What a day, y'all. I was expecting my fifth graders to be tired and dragging, but no such luck.  They met me in full force this morning and we went nonstop to 8:50 to 4:00.
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Honestly, I enjoyed my break and I was ready to delve into the some personal projects, so I dreaded heading back today.  I've got big goals and dreams for the future, but being with my kiddos was exactly what I needed. I love my job and, more importantly, I love my students. Everything that I do for my business is for students, for the ones currently in my classroom and those that may never sit in classroom.  TeacherLadyKY is about making an impact to change the world and it may be small now, but my dreams are big. Believe that. #BeSavageNotAverage #thebestisyettocome
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    The TeacherLadyKY blog header and logo were designed by Sheryl, using fonts from A Primary Kind of Life and Brittney Murphy Design.Β  Clip art is courtesy of Irina Bandyk, whose Etsy shop is WatercolorCliparts.Β Β The blog theme used is Emilia by Georgia Lou Studios.

     

     

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