Welcome to Cycle 7 of The 30 Goals Challenge: Make it Meaningful!
Goal: Share your best and/or worst lesson. This goal was inspired by Terry Freedman's Best/Worst Lessons series. In this video, Terry (@TerryFreedman) shares his inspiration behind the series and how reflecting on our best and worst lessons helps enhance our teaching.
Accomplish this goal: Share your best and/or worst lesson through a blog, podcast, or vodcast. Why do you think it was your best/worst lesson? What factors led to this lesson succeeding or going awry? What did you learn from the experience?
My Worst Lesson
About 7 years ago, I fooled myself into believing I was a pro with facing new learners. I was in Germany, teaching about 20 children between the ages of six- to seven-years-old who spoke and understood very little English. On the first day, I received a less than warm welcome. The children ran around the classroom flying paper airplanes. They climbed the walls, literally, because there were apparatus where the mats should be hanging, not the children. They picked on a little boy and I couldn't get them to stop.
I cried that day when I went home and reflected on all my mistakes. One of the biggest was my classroom set-up and organization. In my Master's course, I was introduced to Alfie Kohn's theories on rewards and competition. I went back to my class and started setting up learning stations, created activities that inspired cooperation instead of competition, created student teams, and I got rid of my award system. My classroom transformed with these changes. The students began to get along and when they finished with their work early, they enjoyed playing educational games and reading at the learning stations. These changes took some time but they were important in transforming my classes into communities where the children learned the importance of valuing each other.