Saturday, February 14, 2009

Screwing Up and Learning From It

My seniors are studying The Picture of Dorian Gray right now. On Wednesday I decided to use part of the period to cover the background of Oscar Wilde and briefly make sure that they understand the first three chapters – the basics: plot, structure, Wilde’s humor, and characters. What it turned into was a spoiler of their fishbowl discussion on Friday. If you are not familiar with what a fishbowl discussion is click here for a handout. Anyway I let the discussion go out a little far and pushed it into territory that is specifically set aside for fishbowl time. So in all essence – I screwed up and by the look on Anne’s face I knew that she was slightly upset.

The really cool thing, at least from my point, is that I recognized it. We sat down after school and talked through what happened. What I could have done better and really what the purpose of that lesson was. I initiated the conversation though. Anne said that was a big step for me. I knew that I had screwed up, I had made the poor choice, but I recognized that. Then, on top of that, I learned from it. We discussed, I re-planned, and now the thoughts from that day have gone on into how I plan and look at what we do in there and in my other classes.

Teaching is learning. Teaching is screwing up, more often in student teaching, but teaching is also learning from those times too.