I had a class the other day that just didn’t work. Why it didn’t work is quite clear but it is how I dealt with/am dealing with it that is the issue.
Sometimes in my career I have had to teach classes/lessons/topics that I’ve known haven’t been the best. In these situations I resign myself to that fact. After all, we often have to pull the line even if we don’t agree with what is asked of us. Thus, you can find yourself delivering a lesson that you just haven’t invested in and the students can feel it. In these types of lessons I am not me, I am not engaged, I am not teaching, active, developing, engaging, pushing etc. If one of those lessons bombs then I analyse it, find out why and use it as a developmental tool. But in the ‘run through the motions’ lesson it is not the same and I don’t have the same sense of satisfaction yet students still sit and play their role.
In this particular lesson there was messing around, chatting in the L1, lack of engagement, lethargy and some behaviour which I just don’t accept. It was not on a par with teaching in an inner city environment but it wasn’t my cup of tea. the whole thing was pretty pointless. Yes, the lesson (everyone knew) was not very useful but I tried to spice it up but it still needed some degree of team effort which there was none of.
How did I feel after and what did I do?
I felt angry because it was not me teaching my way and it didn’t work. I’m not saying that I can’t teach what I’m asked to teach but I like to have a bit of space to play to my strengths and add my own angle. If it had been my lesson I would have a reason for taking it personal but in this case not. I see a lot of teachers around nowadays who do this style for a living ie teaching with no investment. I really don’t know how they can go home after that. Maybe it really is that they are in it for the holidays.
So, the solution is perhaps that I just need to let things go and accept that I have to do some things that are not going to be the best and just forget about it. People do say that I take teaching too seriously but that’s my job, it’s not just a way to pay the bills. But beating myself up over something that I can’t really change is not good either.
The solution seems to be that I need to draw a line and decide where to invest myself and where not to.
How do you deal with these kinds of lessons?