All this means that I've been thinking about what has and hasn't worked in the past, and how I can apply those ideas to a new setting. Of course, I've written about this a lot in the past. I was an instruction librarian for my entire career before this position, so that is probably isn't a suprise. But I realized that the one thing I haven't discussed before is my policy about making mistakes.
And here it is: in every info lit session, I make sure to make at least a couple mistakes.
Why is that? Well, here are my reasons:
- If I make a simple mistake, like a spelling error or clicking the wrong button, I can show students how to recognize it when they make their own inevitable errors.
- Further, I can also show them how to recover from their own mistakes.
- Which means that the person/people to whom I'm teaching whatever tools or skills will feel more comfortable experimenting since they know they'll be able to overcome setbacks.
- And it also means that I seem more human and approachable.
I'll admit it took me years to feel comfortable doing this. At the beginning of my career, I was mortified by the slightest misspoken word. But really, I think showing students how to recover from mistakes is one of the most important things I can do as an instruction librarian. Technologies and interfaces change, but comfort with experimenting and learning from mistakes are transferable skills.
How about you? How do you feel about making mistakes when you're teaching?