I Was a Bad Teacher Today

A younger educator—well-known and enthusiastic—wrote a post with some points in it that just really rubbed me the wrong way. This educator was absolutely well-intentioned but there were errors in the definitions and in the representation of educational pedagogies of previous recent decades.

What did I do?

I reacted. I wrote a relatively polite, yet pointed, reply. I corrected the errors in his thinking and gave some references and history. I expressed that I was offended.

He wrote me personally and expressed his sadness at offending me and told me how much he respected my opinions and told me he was very sorry and that he meant no offence.

He took his post down.


It gave me pause to reflect on my behaviour.

I was angry. I was upset. I was annoyed by his incorrect claims regarding all the efforts and passion many of us poured into the education sphere in those previous decades that he was inadvertently criticizing. But, he did it out of a lack of information—it was not ill-intentioned.

He made the post from his reference point. My reference point is different. I am older. I have a different lived experience. He is speaking from his lived experience.

As an educator, I should have handled things differently. As just my old regular self, I reacted and hurt this young, enthusiastic educator. My ego and my ‘self’ got in the way of a more measured and appropriate response.

A good teacher wouldn’t make another learner feel foolish. I did that today.

I was a bad teacher.

And I apologize for that. And, I will learn from that.

I think of my dear, recently departed mentor—Jim Milligan—as I write this.

He would understand me and forgive me my error.

I hope this young educator will as well.