During a recent class, I volunteered to convert a Works Cited page from circa 2010 to MLA 8. To me it was clearly something I should do as assistant teacher, freeing up the lead teacher to do more “teacherly” things. My idea was that I’d complete this task while the students were on their break.
Five citations (two websites, a book, and a magazine). 10 minutes.
Probably a bad choice.
One tiny screen. Three windows to juggle, plus tabs. I swear I spent more time trying to find the right window with the right information than actually updating the citations. At no point was I able to fully concentrate. It was unpleasant.
I got it done in about 15 rushed minutes. And by “done,” I mean that I improved them all but made many small errors in the process.
On Screwing Up
We went over it in class, the students pointed out my errors and the teacher updated the document further.
It was fine. The students got value out of correcting my work and we ended up with a correct document to reference.
- It was embarrassing. I’m one of the instructors and I got their exercise wrong.
- I tell my students all the time that their mistakes are valuable and encourage them to move past being embarrassed.
- This would have all been avoided if I hadn’t been rushing.
- When I’m lead teaching, I rush my students through in-class assignments all the time. Often on clunky school computers, often on software they’re not familiar with, always in a distracting classroom, always in their L2.
So I now have some more empathy for my students when they dislike screwing up in class.
And I have more empathy for my students when they’re trying to produce zero-error work in an impossible amount of time.
A New York Times cooking article referred to heat as The Invisible Ingredient in Every Kitchen.
I’m now wondering if time is the invisible element in every lesson plan.
The parallels are there: each is something we inherently rely on, that we don’t necessarily plan around and sometimes fudge, and in a way only notice when it’s not available.
And while I do consider time to some extent in my lesson planning, it’s been sort of an arbitrary measure on the side.
What would change if I upgraded it to a primary lens when I’m planning?
How could this be compatible with working with a syllabus?
What do you think?