Failure Fest from the latest IATEFL Conference, (which was lots of fun BTW) I couldn't stop thinking that I should write a blog about my failures as a teacher and what I have learned from them.
I remember two particular cases.
Some years ago, when I was still working at a language school in my neighborhood, I got a mixed-ability, mixed-ages class (second year German). First of all the school owner refused to have two separate classes because of the limited number of students, a few people learn German anyway so why bother and pay the teacher extra, but this is another matter and I shouldn't get into it right now.
My problem was not that I had to deal with two different age-groups. It had to do with discipline. The two teenagers (15-16) I had in class were extremely "lively" (I don't want to express myself with more "powerful" words)
They were not interested at all in the language, although I tried and tried to come up with new activities that could intrigue them. They never did homework, they never wanted to participate in any kind of game, exercise etc. All they did was noise, laughter and mocking the other kids.
I tried to deal with it on my own, read books on discipline techniques, talked with the school owner, talked with the parents, who admitted that they couldn't even discipline their children themselves and that they were both "thrown out"of a couple of schools already.
School year ended without any result or progress, I don't know what happened to these children, because they changed schools again the next year.
I consider it a personal failure because I believe that I could have done more for these children, if I had searched deeper.
Second failure is when we started a class blog. I was all enthusiastic about blogging, I created one with my students. The mistake I made was gibe them free access to write whatever they want! As a result, instead of doing their "homework", they used the page for chatting!!!!!
This was of course something I could correct. So I deleted their free blog and let them use mine for publishing assignments and articles ONLY and this was a big success.
What I wanted to say is that of course we ALL make mistakes. It's only human. How we use these failure experiences is what defines us as teachers and as a person!!!