On to the fifth challenge – what to do when things do not go as expected in the class. It can be one if those days and it can be frustrating as well.

  • You have planned what you think is a super lesson. For one reason or another, it goes completely the opposite way and leaves your students uninterested and you upset and thinking: what went wrong? Sometimes what we educators think might be interesting for the students, may not be or it just may not work. What I do when this happens is I talk to my students, regardless of their age. I ask them what they did not like, what they found difficult or what they would like to be done differently next time. All this certainly taking into consideration their needs as well! Please do not forget that it can happen and has happened to everyone. I know of not one educator who has not had a day like this at school. The thing is to try to improve constantly and reflect on what went wrong and how you can change it the next time.
Talk to someone if something goes wrong.
  • Speak to someone about it, preferably your employer, a colleague or your mentor – someone whose opinion you know will be honest and no matter what it is, will not be meant to put you down or make you feel worse and not find a solution. Talk to them and tell them what you had originally planned, how the students responded. Perhaps they will think of something you had not noticed or even give you tips on how to do it differently next time.
  • Keep a journal, paper or electronic. Put the lesson in there with comments, how it went, responses and so on. This way you can keep a record of your lessons and re-visit some other day, perhaps even with a solution! I try to come back to small issues later and usually I have a clearer head and can perhaps find the answer to my questions.

As long as teachers know they are there to try their best, it is ok and normal for things to go wrong in class. There are solutions and things can only get better!