Yesterday, one of my classes was just rubbish. The technology failed, the kids were distracted, and I felt frustrated that things didn't go to plan.
I am so glad that one of the school mantras is not to view failure as failure, but as a learning opportunity. I think for me that means that if you try something and it doesn't work, that is okay, it is still better than not trying at all, as long as you make it mean something.
This is what I learned:
Don't over-complicate things. Technology is an excellent tool, but it doesn't need to be the focus. Sometimes doing things the way you have done them before is actually okay, if you know it works.
Don't over-simplify things. Making things too easy for students means that they get bored, very, very quickly. And then things descend into chaos, very, very quickly.
Don't keep going when it isn't working. Have a backup plan and flexibility - and if possible, a co-teacher who can pull the situation out of the mire through sheer awesomeness!
Don't forget who your students are. In two ways: don't expect maturity from them all the time - mostly, yes, but not always, because they are 13; and remember that they are individuals, so whole class teaching is something that should only be pulled out on occasion.
So what I thought of as an easy lesson became very hard. It is one of those experiences that at the time you just want to be over, but afterwards you can appreciate that some good things did come out of it, even if not the ones you anticipated. As a consequence, I am planning to change a few things. We'll see how they go...