Tonight's Italian class was, shall we say, less than wonderful. Last week they learned the three major verb conjugations, which I'll admit is a hefty load for one night. (In my defense, the book teaches them simultaneously - and they're similar enough that learning two and three isn't so terribly hard after learning one.) So, as we were going over the homework from last week, there were more than the usual number of people frustrated by the exercises. We got through them, and got through tonight's activities, but I felt badly for the students.
I know that there will always be some students who, in a non-credit class, don't do their homework or don't pay attention or don't study. I know that I can't teach to the slowest or the fastest student, that I have to aim somewhere in the middle. I know that, as a new teacher, I have to focus mainly on improving my own skills so that each class gets better. But as a perfectionist, I can't help but feel badly that my current students are, in a very real sense, guinea pigs as I learn. My goal from now on is going to be to minimize anything that might drive them to the point of frustration sooner than they might otherwise get there. (Because they're learning a new language, for pete's sake, they're going to be frustrated at some point.)
We'll see how this same week's review and lesson goes for my Wednesday class. I hope I feel less like I did a disservice to my students after that.