If you could write an apology letter to your current or former students what would you apologize for?
I was meeting with a group of teachers this morning, asking about the rationale for a decision we made about reading as a school. As I explained the why behind the what I was thinking to myself: I used to do what I am telling them not to do. It happens. The pendulum swings in education. New ideas replace or revise old ideas. We learn more about the brain, about learning, about classroom dynamics and we have to adjust course.
One of my colleagues recently asked his faculty to reflect on something they regret from their time in the classroom.
If you could apologize to your students what would you say? What mistakes have you made? And what mistakes are you willing to admit?
I have quite a list of not so stellar moments I should apologize for and most revolve around practices I now preach against like…
- using textbook assessments
- teaching moment to moment, day to day
- zeros in the grade book (that one makes my heart hurt!)
- taking out my frustrations as an educator on my students
- teaching to the test
- taking recess away as a punishment
- assigning end of chapter, end of lesson questions from the textbook
- teaching from a PowerPoint
- not differentiating
- whole class reading instruction
- being unclear on expectations
- giving out punishments for not turning in homework
- poor behavior management
- marching through a textbook
- sitting at my desk while my students worked and not circulating
I continually learn each day and lean towards growth. I am ok with admitting my faults in most situations, but especially those that involve students. I am so thankful to the network of educators who built me up in my early years of teaching. I know I screwed up. But, I felt so supported I was willing to change and try new things.
I am open in admitting my mistakes.
Those mistakes are my opportunity to do something amazing!