Many elective teachers understand the importance to make students aware of their important classes. As a high school business teacher, I completely understand this. This year, I worked on a promo video that I thought would do a great job getting our Career Internship class noticed. I was feeling good about my creation. Then I showed it to the current Career Internship Class.
“It seems scripted” “The music is too loud” “It sounds like it is not authentic”
That one, two, three punch hurt me. I quickly changed subjects and was fighting the anger in my voice. I made it through the Google Meet class without showing my anger and I dismissed everyone. The silence was deafening once the class logged off. I was mad. I took the criticism personally. I was fuming.
This was my last class of the day and I headed home shortly after. Usually, my car ride home consists of me playing my Pandora music and enjoying my peaceful thoughts after a long day working with students in class and online. Not today. I centered myself as I drove. I thought about why I was getting upset. I thought about the things the students were telling me. I thought about my reaction. Upon arriving home, I was on a mission to learn more about how I could improve this video. I knew I needed to speak with the class to learn more about their ideas to make the video better. Before I did that, I needed to explain and apologize for my reaction on the Google Meet.
I sent the class an email apologizing for my reaction. Then I asked for help with the video.
The next day, I spoke to the class about the criticism. I was open and honest. I let them know that I was hearing the harsh criticism and taking it personally. A student let me know he could have said his critique in a kinder fashion. I explained to him that the rawness and honesty of his thoughts were really helpful for me. We had a discussion about responding versus reacting. I then asked the class if they would be willing to help me re-do the video.
We all had a deep conversation about what to do to make the video better.
By the end of the period, we had a plan to all work together. We made a panel like discussion video where the students were the center of the conversation speaking about the class. It was authentic. The students and I worked together to make a great video that will really connect with students who might be interested in the class.
The best thing came from the reworking process. It was a lesson within a lesson with the students. It is a Career Internship class and we all had the opportunity to discuss how it can be very difficult to work on teams. How if we don’t agree or take criticism the wrong way, it can deteriorate the team quickly. The experience of my failure with the class provided a lesson that was far better than a traditional memorize and regurgitate lesson. As educators, in times that are uncomfortable, we have to work out things. We have to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. This experience with your students can make lasting lifelong lessons.
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