Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Meant To Do That

"There are no mistakes, only lessons."

DAY 5:  I knew I was in trouble today.  The first section in my Pre-Calculus class that I had to study myself before teaching the kids.  Hey ... I haven't had some of this stuff since college in the late 70's, for goodness sake!  Yes, I'm THAT old ...  You'd think I would've conquered this material last year teaching Calculus, but nope - this topic never came up.

Bottom line ... I'm grateful for my mistakes.  Every good teacher knows that students learn MUCH more by making mistakes and recognizing those mistakes than they learn by doing the problem properly the first time.  And when they see the teacher making mistakes?  GOLDEN educational opportunity!  There were riches of gold today, I tell you.

I'm not one of those teachers who thinks it's a bad idea to admit you've made a mistake in front of students.  I may joke and say something along the lines of "I meant to do that" or "I just wanted to see if you were paying attention," but I make 'em just like everyone else.  What's terrific is when a student catches the mistake ... particularly when I don't.  It shows the student was paying attention, focused, and has a clear understanding of the problem.

So here's to screwing up ...

And guess what?  There's MORE of this section next class!  I guess I should probably study a little more ...


  1. Public mistakes by the teacher make the private mistakes by the kids okay. Every mistake, a learning opportunity!

    BTW - Don't call my friend old ;-)

  2. Teachers do their best work when they model... even when they are modeling mistakes! Especially when they are modeling mistakes.