Rookie Mistake

I just have to put this out there because it’s one of those things that I assume every teacher knows by the time they become a teacher.  It’s one of those things that I specifically remember, as an assistant teacher, my supervisor coming over to me, quietly whispering to me in my ear a simple correction and explanation, and never forgetting it again…because it makes sense!

I walk into classrooms regularly and see young assistant teachers making the same mistake I made some 20 years ago.  I remember that moment and I quietly walk over to the person, whisper to them a simple correction and explanation, and hope they never forget either and, if they do, I chalk it up to a rookie mistake.  Someone who doesn’t have much experience and will one day very soon learn the reason for this correction.

Yesterday I went into a classroom that has been struggling and no one has been able to really put a finger on what is wrong.  That is a big portion of my job, finding out what is going wrong so that we can fix it and make the classroom run like clockwork once again.

One of the things I noticed was this simple rookie mistake.  What was shocking was that it was the TEACHER who has more years experience than I have in working in Child Development!  I was taken aback. 

Is this something that no one in her 30 plus years of teaching has mentioned to her?  Or is this something that is evident of her not critically thinking in the classroom?  Really, I think, there are some other underlying causes that are way too complex and more than I can/want to go into here.  Needless to say I am fixing this problem along with many others over the course of a few weeks.

Oh, the rookie mistake?  Turning your back to the environment (inside or out, she did it multiple times in both places).

What are some things that you see that are common rookie mistakes, but are quickly learned before being a teacher?


Theresa Milstein said...

I found it difficult to pause for a long enough time after I asked a question. It was tempting to fill in the silence as they pondered the answer.
New teachers often don't stop to ask if the students understand the information before moving on. If we assume everyone knows what we're talking about, we lose a lot of kids along the way.
Inexperienced teachers tend to rush through the material as if it's a race, when the goal is to make sure the children are learning.

Jenni said...

Ooh, yes! That's a good one! I remember specifically in a RIE class (Madga Gerber) talking about "tarry time". Giving pause for the infant/toddler to process what you say before acting on it.

It really made me think and realize that we need to do that with everyone (children and adults) to give the brain a pause to process.

We always must remember we are on THEIR time not ours!