I have a problem with how I work in my classroom: I don't often make mistakes. I don't mean for that to sound conceited, but I generally like for people with authority to show few weaknesses and be both precise and accurate in their communication of concepts. It irks me when the principal (a former English teacher and currently moonlighting as a college professor for English education courses) writes an e-mail to the school that says something like, "We are starting this business that will be ran by..." or when our superintendent sends an e-mail to the entire district full of spelling and grammar mistakes.
I thought about it harder this past weekend, though and have come to a conclusion that this may not be the best strategy in the classroom. By limiting my own mistakes it sends a few false messages to students.
- It implies that it is bad to make mistakes.
- It implies that the concept or problem is (or should be) easy.
- It puts me on another plane than my students so that they think I am way above their level and they will never be able to attain that level of understanding of the subject.
So, I am resolving to make more mistakes in my classroom. Some will be intentional; some may not be. Just today in precalculus, for example, I was trying to number our examples as we went and I put up numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7, then I asked them to work through those seven problems. Those students who were paying attention got confused and corrected me. Yay!