Making Mistakes is a Good Thing

February 8th, 2015 No Comments

I sometimes find that I think I know what’s best for my students. I have designed assessments, practiced multiple learning strategies, used multiple intelligence test, completed learning inventories, and I feel like I know exactly what they need.

But I don’t.

At least not as much as I think I do. This is a mistake I make all too often.

Rewind back to last week. Sam, name changed to protect the innocent, comes into my class five minutes early during locker break. He ask the ultimate question we as teachers get asked every day, “What are we doing today Mrs. E?” (Disclaimer: If my administrator is reading this, yes, the weekly overview is posted… as well as listed on the side board)

Normally, I would redirect him to the door to wait like everyone else, but that day– I didn’t.

“Notes!” I replied, “My favorite thing to do!”

Yes, I was trying to sound excited about notes. As much as I hate to admit it, and like to think we never take notes and are always doing something fun, some days are note days.

(Anyone else feel like this too?)

Sam looks down to the floor– his disappointment stings me.

“The notes are short today and afterwords we are designing a cartoon…” I’m trying to make him smile again, but it’s not working. “And then, we get to play with play-dough to create models of oil distribution next week! We just have to take in this information first… okay?

He looks up, “But I like videos, that’s how I take in information.”

“I see, but not every day can be a video day.”

Sam turns and walks out the door still disappointed.

I turn to computer.

Look up at clock.

Three minutes.

Three minutes to find a short video clip, pre-watch it, and decide at what point in the class I’ll show it.

Turn to computer.

Hello Google… find me a video less than two minutes on the distribution of oil in the middle east.




My class is waiting at this point, so I let them in and the adjustment has been made. Short video is now added to my lesson after bellringer and before powerpoint.

“Good afternoon class! I made the mistake of not adding a video to our lesson today, but Sam helped remind me that we needed one! Thanks Sam!”

Smiles all around the room.

How often do we, as educators, get caught up in the idea that we have it all figured out? Planning lessons, units, and yearly outlines a teacher should know what’s going on in the classroom. Even more so, using the best learning strategies, testing for growth, monitoring what the student does best in and taking note of their frustration when needed. All the while pushing for time. Time to get in all the standards, — but also time to make a kids day by adding an unexpected video.

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