Bum Lessons

Really enjoyed reading Michael Pershan’s post on a lack of confidence. This in particular:

Anyway, I’ve got a lot more colleagues and administrators in this new school, and they wanted to know how my first few weeks of classes were going. I told them the truth. I mentioned how it felt like a lot of these kids felt unhappy, and when I just came out of a bum lesson I told people that it was a bum lesson.

The result: a lot of administrators visited my classroom.

I definitely feel the struggle this year–way too many lessons I come out of saying hey, I didn’t make my kids’ time or effort worthwhile for the last 54 minutes.

My question is–  I can come out of a lesson that sucked and ask my colleagues and administrators and students how I can make it better next time. I do, all the time. What I feel like I don’t have at this point in my career are a set of tools I can use in class to 1) figure out when a bum lesson is a bum lesson early on, and 2) salvage it with challenging, engaging math for the rest of the period without sending the message to my students that our time is unimportant.

One thought on “Bum Lessons

  1. @JustinAion

    I think there’s a ton stuff going on in this short post!

    My first thought is that teachers are conditioned to lie to their colleagues and administrators about how their lessons are going. They do this not because they want to seem like brilliant educators, but because when we talk about a lesson that didn’t go well, we get lots of visits, usually without helpful feedback.

    I’ll also say that, with this being my 7th year in the classroom, I’m able to identify when a lesson is not going well FAIRLY early on in the lesson. I still, however, have no idea how to fix it. I end up barreling through and dragging them through a crap lesson rather than making corrections.

    Or, more often than not, I’m ashamed to say, I give up.

    In my lessons that are less structured, I’m able to wing it and go with whatever flow the kids present, but lessons that I plan for a few weeks in advance, I have trouble changing course.


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