Unfortunately, teaching isn’t magic

I try hard to make the student experience in my classrooms (both F2F and online) interesting, varied, and useful. I don’t want to teach classes I wouldn’t want to learn in.

I try to make the classroom experience magical, but it’s not magic.

It’s a ridiculous, stressful, unsustainable amount of work. It’s evenings and weekends, it’s missing out on family, it’s constant worry about my students’ needs and whether my approach is right and whether it’s enough.

And it’s never enough.

The downside of having learned a lot about effective teaching is that I feel an obligation to teach effectively right now, even though I have never before implemented some of the strategies I’ve learned.

If I don’t do things well the students are confused, and their parents are upset, and I’m sick with disappointment in myself at having failed to be perfect, or even exemplary.

This isn’t magic. And we need permission from each other and from ourselves to do it wrong until we are able to do it right.

As Mary Schmich says in another context, “If you succeed in doing this tell me how.”


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