I"m glad no one knows THAT!!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by WindyCityGal606, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Dec 16, 2008

    I was replying to a poll here on A to Z about the number of years we have taught. As I replied, I thought about how I finally feel like I know what I'm doing and how glad I am that no one knows how many mistakes I've made along the way. One of my most common mistakes in my earlier years was in the way I taught. I thought that as long as they were busy, they were learning. Now I know and understand words like "busy work". Ooops!! Hey, you live, you learn! I never give busy work now--we don't have the time with all the material we need to cover!

    What are some of your more memorable "ooopsies" in teaching over the years?
     
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  3. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    Dec 16, 2008

    Great post. Can't wait to hear what others have to say.
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Dec 16, 2008

    Me either!

    I will say as an aide my common mistake at first was viewing the student only in the academic realm and not considering the many external things that could be affecting the child that I may or may not be aware of.
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dec 16, 2008

    Okay, first a disclaimer. I never teach science, thank goodness. But, last year, I had to switch to 3rd grade for just one year. And I had to teach science. I think I accidentally taught about an eclipse when I was trying to teach about phases of the moon. :eek: I didn't even realize it until about a month later.

    And there are some more examples I am just too embarrassed to mention. :whistle:
     
  6. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Dec 16, 2008

    :lol::lol::spitwater:

    That's hilarious, Upsadaisy. Rest assured, your students will eventually figure it out.

    Of course, probably after having a similar experience.....
     
  7. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Dec 16, 2008

    I naively thought before student teaching started that I could force all my knowledge down kids' throats no matter what.

    Unbelievably, as I was learning about reading strategies, assessment techniques, and the like during college, all I could think about was how I was going to be this master lecturer that would be the end-all of history teachers.

    How wrong I was! The first day during student teaching, the kids paid attention pretty well. But by the end of the first week, most of them were bored already, and I had mainly lectured the whole time! Ever since then, I've tried to include all kinds of cool activities in class because it's not all about what I can do!

    I hate that pride is a weakness of mine and I'm inwardly thankful for the times I get knocked flat on my face during class (such as the lint trap story, for example). :)
     
  8. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    My biggest mistake as a beginning special ed teacher was setting my expectations too low. I wanted to let my kids taste success but I trod too gently and didn't push them enough. Though I think most did benefit from the calm, nurturing atmosphere of my class, I feel like I did them an injustice by moving too slowly. It wouldn't have hurt to push too hard just once in order to see clearly where to stop.

    It is a hard mistake not to repeat. In special ed, many kids get frustrated easily and it's hard to keep pushing them, especially when you have a soft heart... But I do think I improved significantly by the end of the year, though we were probably still underachieving.

    I also didn't assess effectively at all in the beginning. The university class I took on assessment really helped me understand better practices in that area.
     
  9. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Dec 17, 2008

    Oh, let's keep these coming! As a first-year teacher, I'm making tons of mistakes and I'm always so stressed and worried, feeling like every little thing done wrong is going to have this huge serious outcome that neither I nor my students will ever recover from...

    So it's nice to hear "pro" teachers admit things they've goofed on, but they recovered from just fine. And that means I too can recover from... :)
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 17, 2008

    Goofing on but keeping on may be the single biggest lesson there is.
     
  11. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Raney, there are so many things that you just can't really learn until you've tried it yourself and tweaked until you find what works for you. Don't eat yourself up about it, it's not THAT easy to completely destroy a kid.
     
  12. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Dec 17, 2008

    Ohhh... I'll never forget having the CLASS FROM H**L in my first year (grade 9 in a very disadvantaged school). One girl in particular tried me so badly. One day, I asked her to move seats and she refused so I told her she could move or leave the room. Guess what she chose?!!! My head teacher told me never to give a choice when I wouldn't be happy with either outcome.
    I have also learnt to be nicer, to enjoy the kids more and not to worry so much about content. I want them to remember me the way I remember some of my favourite teachers.
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Great idea for a thread! I have made many mistakes in the short 2 years I've been teaching. My first year was full of them. I was in a kindergarten class. I didn't have the students practice the rules and procedures very much and so it was a constant battle the rest of the year to even have them stand in a straight, quiet line. I learned my lesson and the next year was better.
     
  14. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Dec 17, 2008

    I once said that cotton comes from sheep. :lol: To my credit, I corrected myself in the next sentence.
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Dec 17, 2008

    Biggest oopsie - jumping to conclusions before asking questions about behavior.

    Example: Little boy comes in first thing in the morning. I have been having a lot of trouble with his behavior for days. He is running like a house on fire around the room. He came running my way. I was about to light into him for running in the room, but I stopped myself and calmly asked "What are you doing?" And he shoved a present under my nose: "I HAVE A PRESENT FOR YOU!" Then he is hopping like a super ball. He was just excited to give me a present!

    I've learned to ask calm questions to evaluate behavior instead of just reacting harshly. Saves a lot of time apologizing.
     
  16. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    I think my naive notions that all kids should absorb and learn the material simply because I was teaching it to them--that should be enough!--was my biggest mistake. When I got it through my head that people learn differently--for many different reasons--and I taught the same concept different ways until class comprehension was as complete as possible--my students were more successful. Guess there will always be a few that lag behind and get it next year! But maybe I opened the door!
     
  17. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    Dec 17, 2008

    As a first year teacher, I already know that I've set the bar too low. Now, I'm starting to push them a little more and getting the "why is this class hard now?" and "This class used to be so easy!" uggghhhh.
     
  18. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    That'll be me in January! I observed a very skilled 4th/5th grade teacher today and I realized I have made the assumption that my students can't do things that they can or could learn to do for themselves. The other teacher gave me the idea of "Best Effort," meaning that each child agrees to give his/her best effort to whatever they are working on. He worked with them early on and defined best effort to mean 30 minutes of focused work (no drinks, bathroom, chattering); then they can stop working on it. For most, they are done by 30 minutes; for slow workers who are putting in their best effort, they can usually stop without finishing. They have to come negotiate whether they can stop, though, giving him a chance to clarify or help them, or assign the completion as homework.

    I'm raving/babbling now so I'll stop. I am going to be such a better teacher very soon!!
     
  19. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Dec 20, 2008

    i used to feel mean if I pushed them too hard. It took me a while to get okay with the idea of raising the bar. Now when they tell me something is really hard, I tell them that's good because it means they are learning.
    I like this best effort strategy.
    Anyone else have any good stories? The ones posted have been really good to read. Helps to know we're not alone in our blunders.
     
  20. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Oh there have been so many! If I knew then what I know now I would be a much much better teacher my first few years. I think my biggest mistakes were not informing the parents enough about their kids and trying to sugar coat too much with them. I thought that if I made their child sound good, the problems wouldn't rear their ugly heads. Well, I was darn wrong
    !
     
  21. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    Guilty of that one, too. :huh:
     
  22. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I still don't contact parents often enough to keep them updated with poor motivation and not doing homework. I can't get over thinking that it's petty. I know it's not petty but I still feel like it is. HELP!!
     
  23. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    My issue was assuming all the students wanted to be in class and learn. Too many of them had not had breakfast, and were worried if they would get any food for dinner. I was able to resolve some of that be starting a program on the high school campus that included food and case managment. Although I did not rescue everyone, the school did allow me to lend a hand to about 50 kids each year.
     
  24. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'm guilty of assuming the worst. The first month I taught in this school, I got very frustrated with an obvioulsy bright boy who did NOTHING. I assumed he was just lazy...how wrong I was. As it turned out, this 12 year old child was leaving school, picking up his five younger siblings ages 2-9, feeding them, helping get their homework done, dealing with bath time and bedtime, then doing dishes, laundry and other housework before finally collapsing into bed utterly exausted, only to rise at 5am the next day to get them all fed, dressed and off to school. His father was in jail, the fathers of the other children were nowhere around and his mother was partying/doing drugs and was nowhere to be found. He didn't want to say anything to anybody because he didn't want his family broken apart. This child wasn't lazy, he was exausted. We did get him help, and found a foster home that would take the whole group and his performance improved dramatically almost overnight. After that I learned to never assume anything when a kid isn't doing what he or she is supposed to do.
     
  25. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Wow! That's heartbreaking. God put him in the right place and the benefit was for both of you.
     
  26. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    My biggest mistake was focusing on the negative. I had a behavior system set up--like the color coded cards, and I was always looking to see who would have to pull a card. So I was always looking for rule breakers. As soon as one kiddo would act out I was all over that, but it ended up that I wasn't teaching them as much as monitoring their behavior. I'd rather teach.
     
  27. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I think one of the mistakes I have made is not finding out the reasoning behind the actions.
     
  28. Jeky

    Jeky Comrade

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    Dec 23, 2008

    Oh goodness. I remember during my very first student teaching assignment, with first graders, I had a very chatty class and somehow thought that if I just kept on teaching when they were talking then they would eventually stop and listen. So basically I ignored everything they did wrong. Guess how well that worked out :)
     
  29. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    I have done all that and more!
    Inconsitency, not focusing on the positives, and thinking I could do it all on my own are the biggies, though.
     

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