Rebound From Your Mistakes

Perfectionism seems to be a common character trait of teachers in that they expect to be perfect at everything they do. They must have perfect lessons, they have to have perfect classroom displays, they expect perfect interviews and so on and so on. If this level of achievement has not been met they often feel they have let down their students. They may feel guilt or embarrassment and tend to dwell on the negative aspect of the scenario. The reality is we are human and humans make mistakes even if they are teachers.

We are patient with our students. We expect them to make mistakes in their personal learning journey and offer formative feedback that allows them to reflect on their learning and move forward to the desired outcome. If this works with students, it will also work with teachers.

There have been many, many times over the course of my career that I made a mistake. Like when I said something I should have phrased a different way or when my reaction to a classroom situation was not handled in as professional a manner as it could have. Each time a situation occurs that I feel could have been handled a different way I complete a personal reflection that helps me move forward in my practice. All of those not so shining moments, have helped shape my learning and skill set for the present and future.

One of the Keys of Excellence in my classroom is ‘Failure Leads To The Sweet Smell of Success’. This foundational belief teaches my students that mistakes are inevitable and we can examine the error and turn it into a teachable moment so that future scenarios will result in success for all. An added bonus to this is that my students become more of a risk taker as it relates to ability to try new things. I live by this belief and it has helped me become a lifelong learner as well as a risk taker in experimenting with new pedagogical practices.


Updated: March 4, 2016 — 8:41 pm

The Author

Mike Beetham

I am currently entering my 32nd year of teaching and work with the Waterloo Region District School Board in an area behaviour class. I am actively involved with ETFO at both the local and provincial level. My passions are my family, teaching, the outdoors and personal fitness.

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