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Friday, August 27, 2010

Mr. McClung Warned Me!

Later in the semester you will read two posts by Mr. Joe McClung. They are year end reflections after his first two years of teaching. In his reflection on year one he wrote:
"I have a way I want things done.....sound familiar? While we as instructors like to plan "perfect" lessons, we have to remember that we are performing in front of a crowd the struggles remembering what they brought for lunch that day.
At the beginning of the school year I felt like I was trying to control things way too much, and I would beat myself up over lessons and activities that did not go well. I had to get over this. While I always plan to have that elusive perfect lesson, I don't let it get to me and I do not kill myself over my mistakes any more. When things go wrong, simply work with it and try to better the situation.....and make sure you do it with a smile on your face!"

Joe McClung, "What I Learned This Year," At The Teachers's Desk, May 27, 2009.

Wednesday 6pm was a perfect example. What did I do wrong?
1. I combined two classes and created a crowd larger than the classroom. I solved that with the auditorium, but after we returned to the labs I could not communicate with everyone at once.
2. I did not allow time to process the information I get from the first session in the week. We did not have a trial run on a night class this summer. It takes me about 4 hours per class to process the materials and data that come from the first session in order to have the second session work well (like they did in the other sections). I tried to do it all at once. Unsuccessful.

So next semester we will do it differently. Maybe the night class will be required to attend the first two weeks. Maybe we will break it into two sessions in one week. Maybe we will come up with another solution. But we will not fret about this year! We'll get it straightened out soon. It will cost me a lot of extra hours of work, but I am up to it.

Lessons learned:
1. We often do not get it right the first time.
2. We learn from our mistakes.
3. We try and correct those mistakes.
4. We, as Mr. McClung said, "simply work with it and try to better the situation.....and make sure you do it with a smile on your face!"
5. We honestly reflect on what we have done and we are not afraid to do so in public.

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