Sorry seems to be the hardest word

I've made many mistakes since starting as a new teacher on September 1st. Not knowing which classrooms to enter, misplacing books, folders, how to have a conversation with a student, a parent and generally working out how best to deliver a lesson have been learnt the hard way. This week, however, I made a mistake where I should have known better. I forgot to tell my kids about an exam. Before you all throw your hands up in the air, this is not a difficult mistake to make. The exams are constantly changed and moved around and this one is just a week after my seventh grades' delayed one. The exam was written by another teacher and I simply forgot to tell my class about it. Today, when I told them that they had an exam on Sunday, understandably there was uproar. Hands held high, its my mistake. I can tell you, my fellow confidantes that. But to the students? What is my excuse for not telling them? Do I need to give them one? The material is not hard, sure, but its definitely not fair. Should I admit my mistake and have hoardes of angry parents calling me (I still don't know how they get my number.) Obviously we are only human, but sometimes I feel that every one else expects us to be perfect, and if we make even the simplest mistakes, their faith in us, along with our credibility is destroyed. So what is the best solution here?

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asligokturk's picture

Hello Nicole.H,We all make mistakes and the best part of mistakes is that we learn from them. They are necessary and enlightening. There is usually a lesson to be taken and we move on. Not the end of the world..I try to put myself in your shoes; First of all I would share this issue with the admin of my school. What's the best procedure for informing the studnets  and their parents?The I would openly and honestly say that I made a mistake and say sorry. People, especially children undesrtand when someone is sorry and made a mistake and trying to make amends.Finally I would buy a big cake for the test takers on Sunday. I am sure considering all social & academic context you will find the best solution.Best :)

oztrkozge's picture

Dear Nicole,I think, you shouldn't be so harsh to yourself. It isn't only your fault. In my first year, I had the same big mistakes in teaching but then I learnt a lot from my mistakes. If we are perfect then that means that we don't need anything to develop ourselves. Ofcourse, we are trying hard to develop ourselves professionally,Just relax and give yourself a time to calm down, If you grade the papers, maybe you may be high-grader for this time to make up for your mistake :)All the best luck,

CoffeeAddict's picture

I agree with Aslı & Özge - especially the "move on" bit. We all make mistakes! Don't do anything, simply decide to be more careful in the future.

lemanulas's picture

Dear nicole,, I understand you,,but my best word is Cool ;) relax a little bit.. I agree my friends comments and mistakes for the people,, for us... good luck ;) Don't worry,Be happy!

Victoria Kamchatka's picture
Victoria Kamchatka

Dear Nicole, I feel for you. But you may tell them that they [your Ss] will have some more time to get ready for the exams and will get better results. To err is human. Everybody will forget about it in a week or so. Take it easy!

gulnur's picture

Dear Nicole,Mistakes are for us to find our way. You can hand out the exam paper and tell them to correct the mistakes. You can use this exam as a revision worksheet for the oncoming exam. The students can understand you. Or you can give them a make-up exam to show them that you are on their side, but the best solution is your own solution, trust your instincts! 

crystalheart's picture

Dear Nicole,I think it is not totally your mistake. If exams are constantly changed, that must be the main reason of the mistake. And why do you have to announce the students an exam that you did not prepare? You can remind your administrator that you are a new teacher and when things change fast, it is difficult to catch everything. The best solution is giving another exam to the students.And it will be useful for you to write everything you have to do. You can review every evening for the next day's jobs. And whenever you finish it, put a tick next to it with pleasure! :)