Mistakes in the classroom

I was tutoring a student today and he needed help with his math homework. Math is not my favorite subject to teach and it is not one of my endorsements so I don’t plan on teaching a math class unless it is in a self-contained elementary classroom where I teach all the subjects. We started working on the different problems and I realized I told him the wrong way of doing one of the problems. I corrected myself and apologized. He said it was okay because he was confused too. He explained that his teacher had accidentally taught them the wrong way and was having to go back and reteach it. This opened my eyes to the fact that even though we are teachers, we do not know everything. Students might have the perception that teachers know everything there is to know about a subject, but teachers are human and make mistakes too. Even when I was in school, I remember thinking that my teacher should know the answer to every question I ask. Sometimes when teachers don’t know the correct answer, they will act like they do and give false information. It is better to be honest and tell the student, “I am not sure of the answer, but I will get back to you and let you know” or the teacher can say “that is a very good question, why don’t we research this right now to see what we can find out.” Teachers should not be expected to know all the answers, but teachers should continue to grow in their knowledge and understanding of the content they are teaching. I believe it is important for teachers to acknowledge their mistakes, apologize, and find the solution to the problem. This is a factor in building positive relationships with students. Rita Pierson mentions this in her TED Talk: Every Kid Needs A Champion. She talks about how when teachers apologize to students that the students are just shocked. She also mentions a time where she taught a whole lesson wrong and the next day apologized to the students. When teachers are able to acknowledge and apologize for mistakes, it allows the students to see their teacher as a person and not just their teacher which results in improving positive relationships.

One thought on “Mistakes in the classroom”

  1. Your blog contains a vary powerful message. Teachers do not know all of the answers. We strive as teachers to always know what we are talking and teaching about but we are only humans. We sometimes make mistakes and it shocks others when a person of “authority” has to apologize for something they should know. I feel as though we as teachers should know our content to the best of our abilities but we should also be willing to admit when we are wrong.


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