Ever have one of those days?February 16, 2012
Today I had one of those days as a teacher, the one where everything goes wrong. The kind where I got to class one minute late, forgot something I needed to hand back to a student, had four students absent out of nine, and planned to show several video clips as part of the class, none of which actually worked. And of course, after a day like this I’m heading back to my office and I get to thinking about how I really should have done the first two units in Math, Art, and Design differently this semester. I should have combined the topics of infinity and fractals which would have allowed me to alternate classes that were more abstract and cerebral with classes in which the fractal visuals provided both grounding and motivation. Why didn’t I think of that?
That’s when I got back down to my office and realized that I left my keys upstairs. On the way back up I started thinking about how I should have just abandoned my script once I realized that technology was not going to be my friend today, and done something hands-on. Moments later I’m back to the classroom, but the door is shut and I have now left the ID that I need to get into the classroom downstairs by my office. So I turn around in something of a huff and that’s when I realize that I’m not really all that good at going off script, especially not in this class, and in my current frame of mind that just says that I’m kind of a crappy teacher. Then I’m downstairs getting the ID, back up again getting the keys, and back down to the office, and my main focus is berating myself for my lack of student participation and the fact that this class isn’t inquiry-based and student led.
Yes, I know I’m not really a shitty teacher, but teaching is a job that we are going to screw up repeatedly. Wait, maybe all jobs are like that. I think maybe teaching is like being a stand-up comedian. In either case you are going to fall on your face repeatedly, and when you do there will be an audience, magnifying your failure. But tomorrow is another day…