Ideas for getting over a BAD lesson

How to move on after a bad lesson...
All teachers have bad lessons, but what can you do to get over them? Here are three ideas.
Video transcript - When you have a bad lesson

If you’re a teacher, there is BOUND to have been a day when you walked out of a class knowing that it was AWFUL. It’s a horrid feeling and it happened to me recently, so I thought I’d try to squeeze some lemonade out of those lemons and make a video about it. Want to know how I think you can get something positive out of a lesson that went badly wrong? Keep watching.

I’m Jo Gakonga, I’ve been teaching for 34 years and training other teachers for 23 of those. I’ve got a PGCE, the Delta, an MA, a PhD and a website at where I make training material for English language teachers so you’d think I might know what I’m talking about but here I am to prove to you that we can ALL have bad days.

I don’t want to go into the particulars of the lesson, but suffice to say, I prepared for it carefully, it was material I knew well and the learners were lovely but when I finished the class, I knew that I’d talked too much, not given them enough to do to practise and in places at least, just plain confused them. Not great… and I felt terrible- I could hear myself giving myself feedback in my head- and believe me, it wasn’t nice…and it didn’t go away very quickly, either…I found myself brooding on it.
And this is the rub. Finally- I sat myself down and laid out these three things to myself.

Number 1
Even as an experienced teacher, it can go wrong sometimes. You can slip into doing the things you KNOW aren’t helpful and it doesn’t take much for your nasty inner voice to start telling you that you’re an imposter. It doesn’t mean you are. Remember the other days when you had great lessons.

Number 2
It’s OK- luckily, you’re not a brain surgeon and nobody died.

Number 3
Learn from it. This is the only real way to take something positive from the experience. Try to take the emotion out of it- maybe leave it a day or two and then really reflect. WHAT ACTUALLY happened (in detail)? WHY did it happen like that this time (when maybe it hadn’t before) and most importantly WHAT can you do to change what happened and make the whole thing better next time?

So let me know in the comments- how do you deal with your bad lessons?
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