Had a tough class yesterday, one of the worst ones this year in fact. I was teaching information processing to my grade 10's and the lesson involved finding and posting their favorite (school appropriate) video to their personal websites. An addition activity was to peruse other students' videos and, as the outline for the lesson stated, "see what others are watching." Well, with kids being kids, most of them quickly posted their video and then quickly checked some of their classmates' websites and then, bingo, they were done!
Now I want to be very clear when I write about this group of kids, they are an amazing bunch! They have been hard working risk takers that have created many great things in class. Today, however, they were more interested in socializing than being productive. I found myself having to continually remind them to keep checking other students websites, make some comments, work on their blog, etc. Most of it seemed to fall on deaf ears.
As I walked out of the class I was very frustrated and a bit offended that these students would not keep themselves busy during class time. As I cooled down and had a chance to reflect I quickly realized where I dropped the ball. The lesson and activity were much too brief and I had inadvertently set my students up for failure by asking them to complete a task that was not rigorous enough.
This is where the power of reflection comes in to play. I could have stayed mad at the students or blamed them for being "bad" kids, but in the end they were just doing what any normal grade 10 student would do. They understood the assignment, they completed the assignment and when they were done they turned to their peers to socialize. I believe honest reflection should be a part of every teachers (and every persons) day. Whether it's a quiet moment after the kids leave or on the commute home, I think it is important to review the day and take stock. Every day has it's ups and downs, it's highs and lows and these are the moments we need to remember and build upon. I understood where I "dropped the ball" and understand what I will do different in my next lesson so those "bad" kids can have a great lesson.
As always, comments are welcome.