Today has been one of those days where nothing seems to go right. From dodgy internet connections to the wrong listening CD and the screen being too blurry, everything felt like a disaster from the minute I logged into Zoom. All I’m thinking about is 7pm when I can shut down the computer, switch on Married at first sight Australia and have an early night!
“What did you say?”, “You’ve frozen”, “Okay I have no idea what you just said…”
A 90 minute lesson that usually flies by felt like hours, and it seemed as though things couldn’t have been worse (let’s be honest…. they could have been much worse) but days like these always make me feel as if I’m doing something wrong.
I’ll spend hours thinking about every little detail and what my students must have thought, and I always feel guilty about not being on ‘top form’. Does anyone else have these moments? What do you do?
My top tips for overcoming these ‘bad days’ are as follows:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. The chances are your students will have forgotten about it all by the time they get home / log off, and if they haven’t forgotten it they’ll either laugh it off or roll their eyes.
- Apologise. You’re only human and so are your students. They want to know that you are ‘normal’ too so it’s important to apologise for any mishaps, however small they are. If you can turn it into a joke, that’s great. But if you’ve forgotten a book or planned for the wrong lesson, own up (if you’re caught out!) and apologise sincerely.
- Write it down. What went wrong? Why did it go wrong? And how can you do better next lesson? I keep a plain notepad next to me as I teach so that I can take notes alongside my lesson plan – reminders of who needs what support, what we haven’t covered or something I need to remember later on. I write myself notes for improvement too. And today there were a few (see below).
- Prepare. I can only imagine the stress that teachers are facing once again. Online, hybrid or socially distanced classrooms? Whatever situation you’re in, I doubt it’s ideal. One of the best ways to limit the problems you may face is to prepare for the worst. Prepare some extra worksheets in case your original plan doesn’t work. Have games in case the lesson falls flat, pictures, a short YouTube video or quiz that you can throw in. And be prepared to include a time out. I never go into a lesson without some preparation, but I have learnt the hard way that it’s better to be safe than sorry!
What do you do after a bad day of teaching? Do you worry for hours like I do?
Feel free to share any tips you have!