Is it us or the students making the mistake?

TEACHER:    Millie give me a sentence starting with ‘I’.

MILLIE:          I is..

TEACHER:    No, Millie…. Always say ‘ I am’.

MILLIE:         Okay. I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

When you look at the dialog above, you can easily say that the teacher made a mistake not listening till the end what Millie had to say..

This short dialog got me thinking  and I felt the need to share it with you guys.

I questioned myself. Did I ever do this to any of my students? Even if I didn’t like the answer I got, I had to be honest. The answer was a YES. As teachers we are so concentrated on the perfect sentence that we sometimes become impatient and interrupt our students immediately and correct them. It’s not like I do this all the time, but still.. Feels bad to know that I did it couple times. But thanks to this  dialog a friend shared with me, I’ll be more careful with it in the future.

I am wondering if any of you experienced something like this. I can’t be the only one🙂

If you did, would you please share it?

Thank you.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. devrim says:

    I must have shared this anacdote with many people in my Classroom Management talk. One day, I was teaching 3rd graders. Yagmur was staring outside the window, oblivious to what was going on in my ‘perfectly prepared’ lesson. Her partner started to disturb others because he had nothing to do. When I went up to Yagmur and asked her what she was thinking about, she looked at me and said: Teacher do you think if I put a letter on my mums bed sayin I love you and sign it from my day, will they still get divorced?

    Maybe not like your experience but this made me realise that we need to remember that our role goes way beyond corrector in the classroom and unless we get engaged in and allow meaningful communication in the classroom we will becom nothing but a corrector! This experience reminded me of a simple reality, she is a youn girl who has things she wants to say to somebody, and I am the person she chooses to share. I am the listener, the friend, the confidant, the shoulder… This wouldn’t have happened if I had told her off for not being actively involved in the lesson at the time.

    Thanks for reminding me about mistakes that we teachers tend to make Nihal…

  2. Dear Devrim,
    that is just so true that our role goes way beyond corrector in the classroom..
    And sorry to hear that Yagmur has to go through that. I also have kids like her in my classrooms. Not easy..
    Great to see you here! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Tony Gurr says:


    What a powerful little “story” – it’s often the case that the smallest anecdote can create so much thinking😉

    Much of the problem is that (as teachers) many of us have become “hardwired” as correction machines – and forget that a little “patience” and “space” can, in fact, create more learning than correction strategies.

    We need to remember that a big part of effective teaching is “listening” and allowing students to listen to themselves, reflect and self-correct more. As your story illustrates, we can be surprised – very surprised at what our students can create. Using “wait-time” and questions can get us so much more😉

    Thanks for making me thunk this over😉


  4. You’re very welcome! And thank you for sharing your thoughts Tony..
    Actually after reading this little – and as you said powerful- story, I am trying to be more and more patient while listening..

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