Hmmm....I'm just catching up on some posts (haven't read all in this thread)
and I guess it depends on the project, the # of kids and their ages, but I
can honestly say that I often get into projects with the kids not knowing
what the outcome will be. I plan things out as best as I can--and try to
gather as much info as possible--but I rarely have time to test everything
before I present it.
And when I intro something that I've never done before (like a lot of the
projects I'm doing this year), I'll *tell* them that it's something I've
never tried before--and stress that sometimes art involves the process of
discovery and creative problem solving for everyone, including me. Doing
some new stuff each year and learning along with the kids keeps teaching
very fresh and exciting for me.
When I'm working with younger kids I try to troubleshoot a bit more--mainly
because if things go wrong and you lose their focus and attention you're
more likely to have discipline problems. But I think that most mistakes and
outright blunders can be offset by humor--and by appealing for help from a
resource such as this list. And most projects can be salvaged, even if some
adjustments have to be made. As I said at first, though, I can't figure out
the project (materials)or the problem (what's not working) with this one, so
I'm afraid I'm not much of a resource tonight.
Also, sometimes even if you've planned things down to the last degree, stuff
just goes wrong. Case in point, I was teaching a beginning html class for
the first time this summer to 5th-8th graders. I'd gone down a couple of
weeks before the class started to familiarize myself with the computer lab
(different school from where I normally teach), make SURE I knew how to get
everyone logged in, etc. etc. and the first day of class the computer system
was messed up--BIG time. Never worked the way it was "supposed to" the
entire 2 weeks that I was there, but we figured out ways to get around a lot
of the problems and the kids and I had a blast.
So dunno. Perhaps I've looked dumb to students on occasion, but I've rarely
*felt* dumb :-)