Successful Teaching Article
Why Do Some Succeed, Where Others Fail?
Article Summary: Success in the classroom analyzed from a different perspective. Wonder what to do when a lesson fails? Read this article.
Topic Keywords: success in the classroom, effective lesson plans, be a successful teacher
Why Do Some Succeed, Where Others Fail?
by Gregory L. Gomez
Here's an age old question that most of us have asked from time to time: why are some people successful and others not? This may seem like a simple, straightforward answer, but to answer this with a simple reason will not give the question or underlying reason enough respect as to why one person achieves what they set out to accomplish, whereas another either fails, or simply quits trying.
Why do some people succeed where others fail?
If you take a moment to truly contemplate what this question entails, you will see a much bigger picture as to what, and who it represents. Imagine if Alexander Graham Bell was not successful in creating the phone, where would we be now? What if Henry Ford did not revolutionize the production of automobiles so that regular consumers could own their own car? What if the Wright Brothers were convinced that they would never invent something that can maintain flight? Imagine what our world would be today without the accomplishments of these famous individuals. Imagine what life would be like if these people did not succeed.
Now you may be thinking something along the lines of this: "What the heck does this have to do with me and my classroom of 3rd grade students?".
Allow me to explain.
In truth it's really not entirely that much different. In order to be successful in any given task, whether it be trying to simply cross the street at an intersection, or solve an advanced calculus problem, the individual must believe that the task is truly possible. They must believe wholeheartedly that what they are taking on can actually be accomplished. Without that drive, that belief that is pushing them to strive for success, more than likely they will fail.
Therefore, it is imperative as educators to treat every lesson we present to our students with the same amount of respect. With the same amount of belief. The belief that this activity, lesson, or unit will be successful, and if anything doesn't work as planned, will be modified and implemented the next time with success.
Granted sometimes we will teach a new lesson or activity in our classroom and unfortunately it may fail. Completely bomb. It is with these specific situations when we need to directly reflect on what actually happened and keep that underlying question in mind: Why are some successful where others fail.
Here is the moment when we decide what to do - quit or revise the plan and try again.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying something new with your class and it fails. That is the learning process of an educator. However what we must be sure to do is pick ourselves up and carefully analyze the entire situation. What went well, what went wrong? Take time to replay the whole scenario in your head from start to finish. How did the lesson start off? Were all the students focused on you and what you were saying? Did you have a catchy introduction, a way to peek their interest? If the students were not focused, what could have been the reason for that?
Go through the entire lesson replay in your mind and note what was positive and what was negative. You want to build off the positives in hopes that when you retry or re-teach the activity, those negatives become positives.
Maybe the students needed more explicit directions, or steps broken down into smaller segments. Possibly the lesson was too much for one sitting and could actually be divided into two, or three different lessons. Maybe the students need direction on how to refocus their attention at the end of the lesson because you noticed it got too chaotic during cleanup.
Put it down on paper. It is so beneficial to actually write everything down so you can visually see what went well and what didn't. A simple two column list with positives on one side and negatives on the other. Don't forget to highlight everything that went well in the lesson for these are the areas to build off. In regards to the negatives, determine what could be some possible alternatives or solutions to what went wrong.
This is what you want to get in the habit of doing, especially after teaching something new to your class. Doing so will help ensure that you are successful with everything you decide your students will do, and therefore you will never have to accept defeat and feel that you failed with anything in your classroom.
Gregory L. Gomez, M. Ed, has been teaching 5th grade in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 12 years. He created 10Quickies.com to help teachers and parents provide children with a fun and creative way to review grade level math standards and concepts. Get valuable teaching strategies and teaching tips along with FREE math worksheets samples to download.
FREE math review worksheets that students have found exciting and inspirational. These aren't the typical worksheets that you've seen before, so don't be surprised if you find your students begging for more!