Admitting Mistakes

As educators and/or educational leaders, we have to be able to admit when we screw up as well. If we are truly risk-takers, we are going to run into situations where things do not work out the way we planned. Own up to it, admit your mistake, and make it right.

This excerpt is from a post on the Connected Principals blog by George Couros. In this post, George, a school Principal in Alberta (who writes a wonderful blog of his own as well) talks about how to handle mistakes. He tells a story to illustrate how admitting when you are wrong can gain you respect, in addition to helping avoid useless arguments and escalating tempers. This is a point I try to make with teacher candidates. Kids (& teachers, parents if you are a Principal) can tell when you messed up, so why not bite the bullet, show you are only human and admit you were wrong and how you will improve. I tell my students about my first time teaching a class (in my first student teaching placement many years ago), my first lesson was a disaster, I felt like quitting. Luckily my cooperating teacher settled me down and suggested I go in the next day, apologize and ask if we could start again. I did, and from then on it was smooth sailing. As George points out, this gains you respect and also models how to learn from mistakes, an important lesson for anyone. 


This also leads to a related point, you do not have to bluff your way through everything, it is okay to admit you don’t know it all. Model how to find out something when you do not know. This has particular application when using technlogy. One of the fears expressed by teacher candidates and experienced teachers alike, is that their students may know more than they do. Well, no one can know it all, why not ask your students for help, they can help with some the technical aspects, however, the teacher should have the expereince and wisdom to guide the use.

So, what will you do the next time you make a mistake, or don’t know the answer?


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