A: During my student teaching experience I put together a science lesson on making homemade ice cream in a zip-loc bag. It was an activity I had learned in my “Teaching Elementary Science” course. The lesson was designed to demonstrate how liquids change into solids. I provided my third grade students with all the materials and with a set of printed directions. It was halfway through the lesson when I realized that I had listed the wrong amount of salt to use to melt the ice. In short, the ice wasn’t melting and the milk mixture wasn’t turning into ice cream. In fact, nothing happened. In hindsight I should have practiced the activity at home before using it with the students. I explained to the students that scientists make mistakes all the time – in fact, there are many scientific discoveries (penicillin, electric light bulb) that are the result of unintentional mistakes. I wanted to let them know that even teachers make mistakes and that it’s O.K. to flub up every once in a while. You could discover something new. Next time, however, I’ll test any experiment before teaching it.
Every teacher has had lessons that bombed. Don’t make the mistake of saying that you haven’t had at least one or more “duds” in your student teaching experience. The interviewer will know, instantly, that you are trying to con him or her. By the same token, it’s always a good idea to approach any disappointment or problem from a positive angle. Never blame anyone (but yourself) and always demonstrate how you were able to turn a potential negative into a positive. Demonstrate an ability to reflect on your mistakes and use those mistakes as stepping stones to become a more accomplished teacher.