Writing my way through the school year!

Archive for March 16, 2011

Mistakes Happen!

We’ve all made them.  But I have  a  way to handle my mistakes in the classroom.  A quick, and sincere, apology.   I have learned that an apology  is indeed  the quickest remedy for  a mistake. An example.   I used to become belligerent when my students would say  they handed in work, and I couldn’t find it. A tug of war of , “Yes, I did” and “No, you did not!” would ensue.  I would rifle through my belongings, mumbling  incoherently, and then, lo and behold, their work would appear.   Looking sheepish, I would state, “Never mind, I found it.”, unwilling to relinquish my imagined power. 

 “Oh, no, what would happen if I admitted I was wrong?”   Would my room become an  unmanageable,  madhouse because, gasp, I admitted a mistake?  It was as if,   because I was the teacher, I should not, and could not,  be wrong.  Many times a teacher’s ego is so fragile, that they fear,  admitting a mistake, would undermine their authority. Or their ego fills the room, leaving little or no room, for humility.

I gave up on that idea a long time ago. I realized that admitting to a mistake, and then apologizing,  helped my students realize that I am at least partially human.:)  They kill me when they say, “She’s the teacher, she can’t make a mistake.”    I always correct this fallacy, as I thank the student who corrected me. “I am not perfect, I make mistakes, and I learn from them.”  When I’m wrong, I admit it. And not once have I been given a smug look of satisfaction,accompanied by that “Huh, don’t you feel stupid?” look.  My students always respond with a gracious, “Ok”. 

 Emulation is the highest form of flattery, I want my students to emulate my willingness to admit when I have  made a mistake, and to have the decency to apologize.

Admitting error clears the score and proves you wiser than before.”
Arthur Guiterman

ProjectPLN  Issue # 8 – The Mistake Issue


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