I’m not talking about the lightbulb moment for my students, I’m talking about the lightbulb moment for me. I’ve had a few (hundred) since the last time I took my metaphorical pen to my metaphorical paper.
The most prominent of my lightbulb moments of late was today during one of my math classes. This was in the first class I flip-flopped (see my previous posts for an explanation). I was a bad teacher over the weekend, and I didn’t quite get my class prepped. I’m still a little bit shy about recording my lectures, so I don’t like to do it during school hours on my prep. I know I shouldn’t be, but I just don’t like people hearing me.
Back to my point – I had the lesson prepped, just not recorded (i.e. in a normal classroom, I was ready to roll). In a moment of panic during noon-hour supervision, I thought I would give my students the “behind the scenes” tour of what I do when I record my lesson. In other words, I decided to teach “normally” and just record it while it was going on, this time with students in the room. That was probably the worst idea ever. Because I was recording, I put a ton of pressure on myself to do it perfectly, because I really had only one shot (rather than the 156435424354354341615631 I sometimes take). I got about 1 minute into recording when someone asked a really off-topic question. I successfully deflected it, but not the 8 more that came shortly after. Some questions were relevant; others, well, not so much. The catastrophe was aided by the fact that I miscalculated one of the numbers in a preliminary step that I needed for the entire trig problem. That was a 10-minute derail. I also found a typo later on that completely affected the outcome of the problem.
Overall, I BOMBED. I absolutely tanked. This class on a good day has some behaviour issues, but today, they were off the wall.
So where is my lightbulb moment in all this? I learned that I am doing the right thing. I am doing the right thing by recording my lessons. I fixed up this lesson and recorded it in under five minutes. I would have saved 40 minutes of precious classtime today had I been on top of things. Lesson learned.
The other moment I want to share happened during one parent-teacher interview tonight. The parent came in to see me, as her daughter was experiencing some difficulty in my class. She is a wonderful girl and great student. I had the chance to teach her another class last term, and she was a stellar student. Math just doesn’t quite come as easily to her, and it requires a bit more work. The mother came into talk to me to see how things were going, and we talked a bit about her needs as a learner.
I explained to her mom that we were flipping our next unit, and I gave a brief summary of what that class would look like. The more I explained, the more excited she got, which in turn made me more excited, which in turn made her more excited, which in turn… you get the idea. She told me that her daughter came home and had sort of explained it already, and the daughter was excited too. This took me by surprise, since I had explained what was going to happen to the class and all I seemed to get were blank stares. Fewf! I’m glad someone was excited besides me.
My lightbulb moment here was kind of like the one above. I’ve been in my classroom nervously hoping that the theory I’ve been studying for the last four years, the projects that I poured my heart and soul into, and the countless hours I’ve invested so far this year pay off and actually turn out to be magnificent learning opportunities. It’s great to hear that someone thinks I’m doing a good thing too. (Disclaimer: I have a very supportive staff and admin, but it is great to hear it from someone outside of the education business).
All in all, I’ve had a week of reaffirmations. I may not execute my plans perfectly, and I may slip up every now and again, but I know I’m on the right track (I hope).