A really quick note of focus and balance after what felt like a great day of teaching:
It was one of those days where the material was interesting, the students were focused, and they left ready to look up more on the subject material. It was truly amazing; hands were constantly raised with thoughtful questions and I actually didn’t even get through all of the material I intended to cover because of the wonderful discussion. I was tired at the end of it…but it was a good tired. Physically worn out, but mentally and emotionally invigorated for tomorrow’s lesson. I can’t wait.
It really felt like a win, but…was it a good day of teaching?
That really depends on your definition of what constitutes a good lesson and a good day of class. For me, I see the purpose of teaching and education as this: teach kids stuff. How do I know if I’ve done a good job, then? Through assessment of learning. This may be a quiz on paper, it may be a discussion, or really anything that communicates they understand the material.
So…was today a good day of teaching?
As good as today felt, and it was fantastic…that doesn’t mean my students learned. If, when we review in a few days, my students perform poorly, then today wasn’t a good day. And as badly as that may sting, there’s always a bright side: now we know what we need to focus on so they can be ready for the next assessment. That is the beauty of frequent low-stakes retrieval practice. Even if performance is poor, it still provides important feedback to the student and teacher.
I cannot get caught up in the feelings of it all, though. It’s about the learning. As positive as I feel right now, I must temper this enthusiasm…stay balanced…and prepare for another day of instruction.
What is a good day of teaching for you?
How do you know?