Teaching anything is a battle at times. Sometimes you’re winning and sometimes you’re losing. The reality is that while you may be prepared for a lesson it may not always go as you would have planned. The trick is being able to recognize when things are going south, or about to go south, and make the necessary corrections to fix it. When I teach my Floorball programs everything doesn’t always go to plan. It’s what you do at that point that matters.
Whether I’m teaching or I’m working with another instructor one of the first things I do is make sure I’m prepared for the lesson. Before I get to the class I’ve already thought through the lesson and planned who I want to carry out the program for the day. I think about set up for different activities, how to transition quickly from one thing to the next, and think about how my students may or may not respond to the activities. While you may have a plan in mind it’s important to prepare extra activities, or have a game plan of how you’ll transition if something isn’t working out.
The biggest challenges I’ve found when working with newer instructors is being ok with and dealing with failure. By failure I’m referring to when you teach a lesson or activity and when the kids start it’s clear they didn’t understand or maybe weren’t ready for the activity. The mistake many people make it trying to power through the activity feeling like the have to.
One strategy you can take when this happens is to stop, bring the group back together, explain it again and try it, or stop and shift to something else. Another strategy is to be prepared with additional activities in case one falls apart and know how and when to make those transitions. That’s a skill that must be learned. To understand what’s not working, figure out if you can make changes, and if it falls apart being ok with it and moving on.
While a lesson might fall flat from time to time it’s not necessarily all about you. It’s important to reflect on why it may not have gone well, and think about what could be done better the next time. Sometimes there are outside factors working against you that you have no control over. Despite your best efforts you wouldn’t have been able to change the outcome. However, while you may have thought things went to hell in a hand basket it doesn’t mean your students felt the same way. Sometime our feeling of failure is how we look at it and not how others see it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Learn from your mistakes and make improvements the next time out.