Writing my way through the school year!

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


Comments on: "Mistakes Happen!" (2)

  1. When I make a mistake I’ll say to the kids “That’s my FIRST mistake ALL year” and they laugh because I’m still saying it and here it is APRIL. Hoping that my bit of humor lets them know that it’s okay to make mistakes.

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