Best Way to Deal with Unsuccessful Lessons

Not all lessons go completely to plan. Regardless of how many hours of careful and meticulous planning we put into our lessons, we should always expect the unexpected.

To a new teacher, lessons that go wrong can be something of a blow to self-esteem and confidence. Most experienced teachers have either got used to things not going to plan, or have worked out ways to prevent mishaps.

Remember: regardless of how good, experienced or organized a teacher you are, you cannot always prevent a lesson going pear-shaped!

Lessons Best Way to Deal with Unsuccessful Lessons

Lessons go wrong for many reasons. The following factors all have an effect on how successful a lesson can be:

  •  Teaching ability
  •  Strength of planning
  •  Teaching styles
  •  Behaviour
  •  Subject material
  •  Subject knowledge
  • Environment
  •  Equipment
  •  Technology
  •  Unexpected events

Tips for when a lesson goes wrong

  •  Never be afraid to stop what you or the class are doing and try a different approach if the lesson simply isn’t working. It might be that you have aimed too high or too low, or the subject material simply isn’t suitable for that class. Attempting to struggle on with an obviously unsuccessful lesson is merely a waste of time to your students.
  • Monitor and assess the situation – has the lesson gone off target due to behaviour issues, or a lack of stimulating material, or have you simply not explained things properly? Never assume that just because you have planned every single, tiny detail that the reality will play out as you imagined.
  •  Be willing and prepared to accept the ‘blame’ if a lesson fails, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Just because you didn’t manage to complete all the tasks on your lesson plan doesn’t mean you have completely failed. Think about what went well and what went wrong and work on that in the future.
  • Sticking rigidly to a lesson plan is not always a good idea. A good teacher knows how to adapt and be flexible in relation to the demands of the class. Try to view lesson plans as a bare-bones structure, rather than a precise military operation!
  •  If the lesson has deviated from its intended lesson structure, but the classes are engaged, focused and learning, let them carry on! However, try not to let this happen too often. You will find your timing and pace is affected, and it will be difficult to complete any long-term lesson goals.

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