Fails in the classroom

On Thursday, I just knew I was going to hit a home run in my classroom.  I had a great lesson planned out that involved students working in pairs, moving around the room gathering data.  They would then use that data to determine if a chemical reaction had occurred.  This lesson had all the right components: engagement, movement, data, analysis, conclusions.  But when I tried it out, it flopped–badly.  I made a few modifications for the next class, but it fared little better.  By the end of the day, I was ready to bang my head against the wall and then find a new career.

Instead, after some reflection, I used it as a teaching experience for me and my students.  When class started on Friday, I began with a discussion about recovering from failures.  I explained that my lesson from the day before had failed and that I was using it as an opportunity to regroup and try again.  It ended up being a great discussion about failures and about what I had intended for them to learn on the previous day.  (I even held their attention for the entire discussion–on a Friday.)

Do my students think I’m a teacher incapable of failures?  Not anymore (actually they probably never did).  Do they think I’m someone that they can relate to?  I hope so–they now know that everyone (including me) experiences failures that we can learn from or let defeat us.


About tkslibrarian

Middle school science teacher--hoping to inspire wonder
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5 Responses to Fails in the classroom

  1. Mary Olsen says:

    Good idea, I have not done this before, I usually just make a note when a lesson fails (“do not do again”) and move on, but I think talking about it with the class makes sense. It allows them to see what you were hoping they would discover and also allows students to see another side of you. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Being willing to publicly talk about your failures is awesome. Being willing to acknowledge it with your students is commendable. I’ve had those days and came back the next day with the, well folks that didn’t work. Then followup with this, alright help me out and give me some ideas to help make it work. Great blog!

  3. Failure is a part of learning. I believe it is refreshing for kids to see that adults not only fail, but are willing to demonstrate how to learn from these failures. Great post!

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