I was observing a lesson by one of the student teachers I mentor, and she made a very basic mistake. She was having the students work their way around the room to a number of stations, but put them in different parts of the room. Instead of the students moving clockwise around the room, the students moved like lottery balls through the room. It led to some major turbulence in her lesson but we talked it over and changing this small part of her lesson will make it better next time.
That same night I was putting a new set of chains on our snowblower tires. It was just as rough as the student teacher’s lesson. I was banging my knuckles and my hands were getting cold. I poked a hole in my jeans while working the garage and my jacket needed washed after crawling around the floor and sticking my arm around the snowblower.
We were both rookies at what were doing that day – her with teaching, mine with installing the chains.
At one point my wife stuck her head out the door to ask if I needed help. I told her I didn’t. I could have used an extra set of hands to do it more quickly, but not to learn how. I had to fail on my own. Together we could have done it but I wanted to know how to pull the slack on the chain, how to clasp one side before the other, and how to orient the chains based on what wheel they were on.
In my discussion with the student teacher we mentioned much the same thing. During her lesson, I and her mentor teacher noticed that the way she was directing the students would lead to a lot of disruption, but we had to let her fail on her own so she could understand the nuances of the problem.
In getting down in the cracks, in the dirt, and in trouble we see what the problem is made of. We see the sticking points and we can adapt to them.
A nice lesson to end my day with.