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.”