In a message dated 03/01/2002 10:25:03 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> I'm thinking of one high school teacher in our district who has taught the
> SAME thing for over 30 years and has no intention of trying something new.
> She never has flops BUT...she never has anything exciting come out of her
> classes either. So.....think of yourself as an exciting, creative teacher
> who was willing to risk for something fabulous, it didn't work, you learned
> something, and you're putting another notch in your teaching belt. I
> say.....go for it all! I would go in to your post-interview with the
> excitement of the venture and how you could/would change things to make it
> a success when you teach it again. I would show lots of enthusiasm for
> risking it again and making it work.
> I think great enthusiasm for your teaching overplays any flop you have. The
> kids are always waiting with smiles on their faces to see what magic thing
> you will do next. They are always so "open" for the next venture if you
Actually, this could have been me talking! But, leave it to Bunki to say it
best. I agree 100%. Last time my principal came in unannounced to observe
me she had just missed what I thought was a horrible flop. I don't have them
very often, (thank God) but I do have them, as we all do. Anyway, when she
entered the room I said to her, "You just missed probably the worst lesson
I've ever done! Too bad you weren't here to see that one so that if I ever
try anything like that again, you have my permission to shoot me!"
We both laughed because she knows that my teaching style includes NEVER
(well, almost never) repeating a lesson. Sure, it's easier to take the safe
and boring way out and do the same lessons year after year. But, trying new
ideas keeps everything exciting and keeps me enthusiastic and challenged.
With that runs the risk of everything not going perfectly every time.
Turn the "flop" into a cooperative learning experience for the kids...maybe
they can get into groups and brainstorm how to use the scratchboard that they
prepared in a different way. Or, redesign the lesson. How about using
craypas on top to draw
a still life in a line drawing, for example? Maybe your students could put
the oil pastels on top in solid colors and scratch through that to get a
black line, if they coated their paper in black. How about cutting up the
paper and gluing it down on white paper with spaces in between? Have them
fill in the spaces with a variety of black and white patterns by using a thin
felt tip marker.
Sometimes it's best to just move on...live and learn. But, where your
principal picked up on the negative, turn it into a positive. Also, between
you and me, it probably would be best to experiment with the project first to
see if it works before turning it over for the kids to discover if it works.
Sometimes this can't be done, but if you are a new teacher, try doing the
lesson first yourself to test the results. In any case, don't let this
incident discourage you.
Susan on Long Island