I’m sure there are times in every teacher’s career that they have a bad day, and I had one.
I attempted to let students read a short story and discuss and answer related questions in groups. I gave them a guiding time frame, because this was only one of the activities I wanted to cover in the class. The short story was not a difficult read, I asked them to fill out an anticipation guide before and during reading to help them, and I allowed students to work in groups of up to three. I thought groups would be a nice break from the individual work from the day before. Additionally, some students answered the exit slip question, “what should I know about you as a learner?” by telling me they enjoyed group work. I personally, enjoy discussing what I read with others and find it helpful in identifying different potential meanings of a story. However, it became a social opportunity and I could see that many students had completed very little of their anticipation guide. I realized that my class was going to need the entire class to finish what I hoped they would, so I let the rest go until I could cover it the following day.
This behaviour came from two general things. Firstly, in my haste to cover everything, I made the mistake of not clearly connecting the previous day’s work to that day’s. Secondly, after starting out assertive and audible, I reverted to my timid and quiet voice. Maybe I was tired out or nervous, but the students noticed.
I was upset at first. I knew the mistakes I had made immediately. I felt like a failure. After calming down, I made myself acknowledge that I would not learn from beating myself up over it, that I had to dust myself off and take the experience for what it was — a learning experience. The next lesson, I focused on my presence and my voice. I also dedicated the period to connecting everything together and establishing the importance of the learning activities and the routines. The lessons that I have taught since, have went according to my plans and I am looking forward to improving more and more. In the end, things have gone well and I was able to learn from my “bad day.”
In addition, to overcoming fears and learning from mistakes, I really felt the support of my teaching communities. My partner and my cooperating teacher gave helpful feedback, support, advice, and specific things I should do next class to be more successful. This helped me emotionally prepare myself and it helped me make the most out of the lesson I learned.