I am a strong believer in the idea that if you never fail, you’re not branching out enough. I am therefore theoretically ok with the idea that sometimes I will fail. When the failure actually happens though, it looks a lot less like a step and a lot more like a black hole.
The short version of the story was that I wrote a day of curriculum for the Intermediate ESL class because through a complicated and uninteresting chain of events, we were short a day of curriculum. Well, I thought that my experienced teacher would be the one teaching, and I thought it was clear what to skim over and what to go farther in-depth on, but neither of those items were the case. The volunteer just ran into a wall with it and about a week later she actually quit. Ouch.
So yes, there are a lot of things about the situation that I will most definitely be doing differently. It’s a small comfort, though, to assure myself that I will squeak some lessons learned out of the wreckage.
I found that what actually made me feel better was a couple of recent victories. Not just planning to do better, but actually doing better.
Through another complicated and uninteresting chain of events, we were short a week of curriculum in the advanced class. And the curriculum that I with the help of a couple of my more experienced volunteers came up with was focused, well-paced, highly teachable, and overall successful. Apparently I am capable of doing a good job on it. Good to know.
I did not have a sub for the teacher gap in the Intermediate class, so I got to teach it. Even without a lot of prep time, my lesson was focused, useful to the students, and engaged them for the whole class. There were actually two writing activities, conversation, reading, student-generated vocab lists, review of the lesson during the lesson, getting up and moving around the room, and real-life objects pertinent to the lesson. Earth-shattering? Of course not. I just now have confirmation that I do in fact know how to teach a good session.
So, while I am not yet the ultimate teacher or an expert curriculum writer, because of these victories I know for sure I have what it takes to continue to eke every scrap of learning there is out of my little volunteer support catastrophe and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Confidence restored.