Teaching can be tough. What happens when your students don’t do as well as you thought and expected they would?
Has this ever happened to you?
It is happening for me right now. After a year of hard work we were asked to conduct a language audit by a client. Thankfully, 90% of our students had acquired enough language skills to move to their respective next levels. Unhappily, some of the 10% who didn’t move forward were a few of my students.
Failure produces a world of negativity. Obvious, right? But I think it’s important to realize so you can move through and onward. Negativity in this experience of mine has seemed to roll around the following points:
- Maybe I suck as a teacher.
- Spiral: I suck at everything. (Does it ever happen to you like that? You experience a setback in one area of your life, and then you start generalizing it to everything? To WHO you are?)
- Second guessing. Is what I’m doing REALLY working for my students?
- What have I done wrong?
Do you know where that line of thinking has gotten me? Nowhere – except down.
I read this post today: Leadership’s Greatest Value and I think it fits the conversation. Opening paragraph:
“Problems are giant black holes that capture focus, drain vitality, and divert resources. Solving problems seduces leaders away from future opportunities to focus on past inadequacies.” (Dan Rockwell.)
What can you do when faced with a setback?
- Mourn the setback. Don’t ignore it. (Just don’t set up house here.)
- Talk about it. In my case: my lovely wife lent me her ears. (If you see this, thank you!)
- Identify mistakes, and move forward without them. Do this quickly. One of the things I identified was the need to more effectively focus on my student’s work related objectives. What is done in class, must impact with meaningful results outside the classroom.
But most powerful of all:
“You never build the future by solving the past. The problem with solving problems is we think we’ve created results when we haven’t. Solving problems doesn’t create value.” (Dan Rockwell.)
How do you deal with setbacks as a teacher?
Photo by Nanagyei