Don’t be afraid of teachable moments…

I’m 2/3 finished my pre-internship 3 week block. This past week I had a moment in one of my lessons where a student challenged what I was teaching and felt that I was wrong. It was on the topic of colonization and First Nations people of Canada. Immediately I froze up. As soon as I heard the student say “that’s Bullshit” I froze. It scared me, I thought to myself  Oh no what do I do?  I tried to explain my point further to the class and asked the particular student why they felt that way. The student continued to argue with what I had been teaching about and eventually my co-op teacher stepped in to help. I am so thankful that I have such a great co-op teacher because I completely froze up. The co-op had tried to see the student’s point of view and also tried to help get my point of view seen. The student eventually stopped arguing, but I could tell that they were only giving up because they were  sick of talking about it. The student felt opposed to something and I feel like I should have maybe took the time to figure out why and dig a little deeper into their opinions and feelings.

Looking back on this moment I feel like it could have turned into such a great lesson on white privilege.

Maybe the reason I felt afraid is because:

  • I didn’t have a strong enough base relationship to talk about those kinds of things with my students yet
  • I had no idea as to how the students would react to the idea of white privilege
  • I didn’t want to bring up such a tough topic in someone else’s classroom.
  • Or because I am new at this teaching thing and have no idea what I am doing yet.

I feel like a baby fawn trying to walk for the first time. Teaching is new to me, it’s sort of awkward at times and can be a struggle when you have little experience.

I am looking forward to the day that I will be able to have those great moments with my classroom. Sometimes the best lessons to be learned are those that weren’t supposed to happen.

-Madison

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3 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid of teachable moments…

  1. “A moment, a moment like this…. some poeple wait a life time” 🙂 I think being able to reflect on the situation which you did is necessisary. I don’t have many answers, but I think the beauty of teaching is about being “scared”.

    Does the feeling ever go away? It hasn’t happed for me yet, if it does… I might just retire.(although, I haven’t had a contract yet) These feelings show that you care and that you are passionate about your teaching. The trick is finding balance between feeding off these emotions and being overwhelmed by them.

    Best of luck with the remainder of your teaching block.

  2. Thanks for that post, Madison. I am happy teachers do reflect on what they could do better (this is not to say that what they do is not good enough). I suppose it was a difficult subject and I can see how it might have been difficult to talk out of a sudden about white privilege. I guess this is something we may want to discuss with our students before we get into any discussion about FN issues.

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