Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What didn't work....and why not

“What didn’t work” – this is always the more difficult piece to own. But, here goes.

What didn’t work was that I accepted a six-week teaching assignment for a class that would continue for the rest of the year….Why not? I accepted the assignment because I was afraid I wouldn’t get consulting jobs and wouldn’t have any money coming in. It was complicated by the fact that it generally took me about six weeks to get to know the class I was teaching. So, by the time I got to know them, it was time to leave. I didn’t allow for “getting to know you time” as I used to when I taught previously, because there was “not enough time to waste on non-academic material.” I have learned that fear is probably not a good motivator to drive my decision-making. The decision to teach was not necessarily wrong, but the motivation (fear) colored my interactions in a way that was not positive… I should have invested the time in community-building….done a better job of transitioning the students to their new teacher.

What didn’t work was teaching a class of potential religious school teachers without using a text as a structure for the class…. Why not? I didn’t find a text that I thought was comprehensive enough, so I pulled my own material together. The problem was that while I had the big picture, I’m not sure the students were able to see how all the pieces fit together. Next time I will use a text to provide a framework for the learning and provide handouts to supplement what the text provides. I may need to take material out of the order given in the text, but that will model how to use material in a way that makes sense for your class instead of automatically following the order the text book publisher decides on.

What didn’t work was that I sometimes found it difficult to stay on top of the business aspects of running my business – submitting project proposals to clients, billing in a timely manner, entering financial information into my data base, keeping up with the filing, updating my webpages…. Why not? It wasn’t as great a priority as it should have been. Sometimes, it seemed like there weren’t enough of those tasks to do to justify the time spent. Next year, I will schedule a set time each month (at least) to stay on top of things. It will help me feel less overwhelmed by the details. (I wonder if I can find a way to break through the “ho-hum” factor?)

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