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.