Ugh – what do you do when your day just does not go the way you thought it would go? Even worse – what if your class does not go the way you want.
As Sal Buffo blogged, in his Reminder from the Universe, sometimes it’s a good thing in retrospect to just let go. Okay, I get it, but for those of us always want to be in control, it may be a little more difficult.
OK, I think none of us really blow it entirely, but when the technology ‘farts’, or we forget most of our notes – always across campus or left on the kitchen table – or the video blew up and you get totally off topic. Worse, students look at you like you’re from Mars, and have no clue as to what you are trying to tell them – it can be a little unnerving for the best of us. Here’s another scenario: the first half of students entering class tell you how confusing that last assignment was – they didn’t do it.
So what to do?
- Admit that some things are not controllable – most students probably liked being off topic a little, and that the discussion may have been more lively than normal. Stop and ask students if they have ever had any bad days. (Caution here – you may get some opinions on your assignments!)
- Admit that others may have questions (comments) on that last assignment. Perhaps clarify what and how, and have the assignment orally that class.
- Find the positive in the situation. Maybe that confusing assignment becomes the best discussion in class you have ever had. I asked students what I could do to turn this around, and if they would rather have an oral assignment – yep! After that, Voicethread was utilized, and I asked for more interpretation of the assignment.
- Add some humor – not the self-deprecating sort, but maybe have others tell how they got out of a jam when having a not-so-good day (not ‘bad’). Not every day can be perfect. If you learned something about yourself or the world, consider it a good one.
- Be flexible and don’t give up (frankly, you can’t until the end of the semester). The not-so-good day may turn into good days; days that you remember when things seem to not work and yet it become one of the best days.
- Have faith in yourself. Truly, you know what to do, and you are not the only one that had one of those days.
If it’s really not a good day, watch Rita Pierson’s TEDTalk. You’ll be inspired.