The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.

Oops

Today I was a co-teacher in a 4th/5th grade class at Dr. Howard in Champaign. I’m not sure how the class was 4th/5th grade because, as far as I could tell, all of the students were in 5th grade. Maybe there were 4th graders there, too, and I didn’t notice. It is possible, I imagine. Anyway, as a co-teacher, I spent most of the day walking around and keeping an eye on the students while the other teacher did all of the work. I had a generally good day, and I told her that I would be happy to come back for them whenever needed, and that I would be glad to be put to use. Not sure if I will be there again, as there are always other factors that get involved, but I’d definitely be glad to work with these students again.

During the course of the day, I noticed that there are times when teachers make mistakes. I certainly do, and I know others do, as well. What I find interesting is how we respond to our errors. There are pretty much a handful of ways we can respond: we can make a big deal about it; we can pretend it didn’t happen; we can insist it didn’t happen; we can quietly change the error; and we can acknowledge the error and correct it. As a teacher, I try to acknowledge the error and then correct it. I don’t believe in creating a mythos of the omniscient teacher (even if I do jokingly say that I know everything). I noticed one of my errors when I was writing a sample persuasive essay and accidentally inserted a comma where no comma was needed. I just said, “Oh, oops, that shouldn’t be there!” and crossed it out. No problem.

I’m glad that the students I was working with today were able to easily recognise that a mistake was easily made and just as easily fixed. This is an important lesson for any person to learn. All of us have moments when we go “Oops”–it is worthwhile to decide early on how we will respond to these moments.

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