The following dialogue comes from Batman Begins:
Bruce Wayne: I wanted to save Gotham, I failed.
Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.
Bruce Wayne: You still haven’t given up on me?
Alfred Pennyworth: Never
Today was one of those days that I felt like a failure. I designed a great project for my Spanish 2 students revolving around the present progressive. Here it is. It was due today. Out of 21 students, 2 had it done. Argh. Of the rest of them, some were in various stages, some had not begun. They had two and a half class periods plus a weekend. I was beyond frustrated.
I tend to take things personally when it comes to my classroom. Personally in the sense that I feel I should have prevented this. I spent a chunk of the morning in a metaphorical heap on the floor (not actually on the floor, I had other classes to teach!). I had fallen and felt kicked around a bit as well. As a new teacher, this is a feeling that creeps up from time to time as I try new things. It is easy to stay in that heap feeling as though I failed.
The better route is to pick ourselves up though. Teaching can be a very solitary profession (especially in a small school). Often we must be our own Alfred Pennyworths and not give up on ourselves. So this afternoon as I pick myself up and dust myself off I am reflecting how I could have avoided stumbling.
Stumbling Block #1: Not setting clear deadlines
In the future when I do this again, I will provide more deadlines than just the due date. There will be a deadline for written prep work, a plan for filming, filming and recording audio, uploading files and editing. This will hold kids more accountable and help with time management.
Stumbling Block #2: Making the “digital native” assumption
I hate the term and idea of “digital native”. Yes students know how to text and download music. They do not automatically know how to upload files, trouble shoot issues and work with new programs. Some did but the majority did not. I spent class time showing them how to use it but they obviously were not paying attention or panicked based on the questions and excuses I got. Along with the deadlines. I would do these demos and have them practice in class in stages of the project.
Stumbling Block #3: Assuming I had workable technology
I teach in the old building at school and our tech person has admittedly told me that they put the old, non-working computers on this floor to satisfy a past teacher who wanted to use them to babysit her students. As a result, I am stuck with not enough computers for my students and the ones I do have don’t work well, at all. Sadly, I have limited options to remedy this but will have to line something up in advance next time.
So, once again, new teacher picks herself up, refusing to give up and marches into the future determined to fight and spread knowledge to the masses. Armed with healthy reflection and modifications for the future I will pick myself up, again. Tomorrow is a new day and another chance at success. Although I’ve picked myself up, I still think a healing beverage or maybe some ice cream is in order. Batman is only human after all!
Until Next Time,