OOPS I DID IT AGAIN!

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Yesterday I made a crucial mistake.

At first, I didn’t realize it was a mistake and blamed others for the result that damaged my whole day.

Then when I came to my senses after taking a nap for about half an hour, I began to analyze the sequence of events that led to the disaster.

Once more I understood the miraculous power of REFLECTION as I saw that if something went wrong, it would only be because of ME.

Now let me briefly describe what happened.

As a unit head in my institution, one of my responsibilities is to have weekly meetings with the teachers who teach at the level I am responsible for. The point of doing that is to ensure that every member of the unit works in COLLABORATION to FACILITATE students learning as much as possible. Needless to say, the key factor for achieving such a goal is to SHARE ideas, feelings, and practical tips as to how we, teachers, should be acting for everything to function seamlessly.

However, I became aware in yesterday’s meeting that it might not always be easy to create a LEARNING ENVIRONMENT for those in my team because I was opposed harshly when I tried to explain to them my intentions about the content of our weekly meetings.

Every teacher, including even the least experienced, present for the weekly meeting protested against the idea of coming together for sharing and reflecting. Shocked by the reaction, I uselessly spoke words of encouragement and made efforts to justify my point.

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Despite all I did, they just said:

1) We are already experienced enough to cope with even the least motivated students.

2) We can already teach even the most complicated points.

3) We are not responsible for the other teachers because we will be all right as long as we can agree with our partners.

4) We do not need to feel like a community.

5) We are tired enough and cannot be worried about each other’s learning.

6) We do not believe that meetings are necessary at all.

I must say I was about cry and I even thought of ending the meeting without saying anything. I had no idea why they were so negative and what I could do to change their mind.

Having thought about it all night, I am now able to see that I started the meeting inefficiently and that caused me to lose control. What I did for the start was to ask them “Do you think it is necessary to meet every week?”, which clearly provoked them to vomit out all the negativity inside them because they had taught between 12-20 hours during the week and they were dying to leave the school to live the rest of the day as would be suitable for a Friday.

If I could go back in time, I would never have such a start for the meeting. Sadly, I cannot do it and the teachers in my unit probably feel that I am not good enough to lead them. What upsets me most is that it is the first time I will be working with those teachers, so I might not have the chance to affect them positively about the possibility of creating a learning environment through meetings.

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So, what I am left with for the time being is that I know how I should preside a meeting with all new team members next time:

1) I should make coffee available in the room.

2) I should make some jokes and win those present before starting.

3) I should show some slides and ask them to discuss in pairs or groups the messages the slides have.

4) I should create an opportunity for them to see that they can act as a team by assigning a task and allowing them to complete it collaboratively.

5) I should make the impression on them that they are there to relax and recharge their energy for the following week.

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Had I followed the above-mentioned steps, I would not be writing this post now, and I would be certain that my unit meetings would be for the benefit of teachers, thus most importantly for the benefit of students.

Can I still make things good again?

Well, I am really not sure about that, but I will try my best to erase the effect of a grave mistake. After all, I ADMIT I was mistaken, and I have clearly LEARNT a lesson. What remains to be doe is NEVER TO REPEAT that mistake.

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8 responses to “OOPS I DID IT AGAIN!

  1. This post is SO complete that there is nothing more to add 😉 And all I can really say is Hallelujah to reflective practice! No, honestly. I just wish all the people in charge would reflect in the same way.
    Making mistakes in an intelligent way takes us further and makes us grow …

  2. Now I admire you once more, mate! a perfect post with the best words to share the experience and encouraging to REFLECT, REFLECT, REFLECT! 🙂

  3. Hi Guven, don’t be too hard on yourself I’m sure the other teachers in your team look up to and respect you. I remember being asked a similar question by a DOS a few years ago and thinking along similar lines of your teachers – that I didn’t have any spare time/ energy to reflect and at that point I know enough about RP to want to invest my time. It’s difficult to encourage people to give up their free time and I don’t think that people realise the benefits of relflective practice until they try it. I’m sure you can ‘still make things good’, just by sharing these reflections you have already started!
    Gemma.

  4. Hi,Guven!
    I’m commenting in your blog for the first time, so I’ll introduce myself. My name is Mayya, I’m a private teacher and I still study English as a student.
    First of all, your post is so incredible that it’s impossible not to stop to think about.
    Secondly, I have an idea that may be helpful. I think you should start with the students. Do they need more skilled teachers? are they (students) satisfied? If yes (95% it’s yes), than it is a cause to organize another meeting and do it properly. Surely, the way is tricky, because the teachers might think you’re questioning their professionalism.
    Hope, it was helpful=)
    Have a nice day.
    Mayya.

    • Mayya,

      It is very kind of you to take the time and leave such a great comment. I must say the idea is more than excellent, and I’ll be using it for sure 🙂 I am also flattered to hear that you find my blog worth following 🙂

      All the best,

      G.

  5. Guven so glad to be catching up again with my PLN blogs and tweets. I missed that so much.

    What can I say about this post. First of all, I love reading your blog. Secondly, we all make mistakes and mistakes means not having the outcome that was expected in the first place, it is not about us so much but about what didn’t work and thanks God you reflect and able to rethink your approach and choices. So, should everyone. That would make everyone’s life easier and happier (I think!). So don’t be so hard on yourself. What you doing is great. Keep up the great work.

    I don’t have a position like yours, but by being very active and reflective I can’t stop wondering about my own context and it is not easy thing really to get teachers in a weekly basis to reflect and create this community feeling. So much like it is not easy to imprint on our students the ways to become better learners. it takes time. Same with teachers. Changes don’t come quickly when motivation doesn’t come from them.

    Think of your next meeting and take it slowly. Make small changes, reflect, plan again towards your aim. My 2cents. Thanks for this post.

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