How I Failed my Students - And What I did About It! - Simply Skilled Teaching

How I Failed my Students – And What I did About It!


I’m about to get real with all of you… real and raw… You ready?

I hope so… because I feel SUPER uncomfortable sharing this story with all of you. BUT… I am 100% sure of my WHY… My WHY for sharing this with you.

My WHY is because I want you to know YOU are not alone!  Teaching is HARD..honestly.. It’s probably one of the hardest jobs in the world because we actually have so many jobs all wrapped up into one… We are mothers, fathers, nurses, doctors, dentists, therapists, secretaries, and soooo many other things.

I digress…

My WHY for sharing this story with you is because I KNOW I am an amazing teacher just like YOU, but I also KNOW that I was failing my students at the same time.

Here it is… raw and real…

This story is about the day I stood in front of my class of 2nd graders actively teaching a lesson and realized that I was completely failing them… At the time I was trying to teach my students how to add double digit numbers with regrouping…ugh… you feelin’ me here! I was struggling with trying to teach each one of my students that all had completely different learning needs.

Let me paint a picture for ya… I’m standing at the smartboard showing my students how to add double digit numbers… the students were using place value blocks and workmats at their desk.  Here’s the picture…. in the back of the classroom I was looking at 5 faces that were so bored out of their minds they probably wanted to stick pencils in their eyeballs…or just get up and go to the bathroom 18 times… Then, in front of me, in VERY close proximity to me and the smartboard, are my little strugglers…2 of my boys are building towers with their place value blocks, two of my other little ones were using a tens block to have an “under the desk sword fight” and my two little girls were writing notes back and forth to each other using bright pink post-it notes inside their desks.

Yes.. this was actually happening… Thankfully, my on-level learners were basically with me…

I spent SOOOOOO MUCH TIME correcting these behaviors and putting out fires…  taking away swords and post-it notes… all while simultaneously trying to teach them how to add double digit numbers… How’s THAT for a picture??! I literally STOPPED TEACHING… I stopped talking… I just stood there.. NO.. I am NOT JOKING… I waited.  I waited a bit more…

Still waiting…I would say it was about 4 full minutes before every student was finally looking at me, quiet and ready to learn…

“Put away your place value blocks… and get your coats on…. and get on line… don’t ask me any questions… don’t ask me why…please follow my directions.”

Math was over for the day… I didn’t say anything else… we just went out to play. I needed to clear my head…and so did they!

That was it… that was the day I realized I was getting more and more overwhelmed and frustrated because I knew I wasn’t reaching all of my students and that was  crystal clear after looking at the dismal results on our summative assessments. As you can imagine, I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling defeated.  But I wasn’t ready to give up on seeing all of my students reach the mastery level in every unit that I taught and ENJOY math in the process!


That was the day I decided to teach math to my students the EXACT WAY I taught reading to my students – in small groups! That was the day my Guided Math journey began. I read blogs, books, articles… searched the internet frantically for “teaching math in small groups,” “math workshop model,” and “guided math.”

At that point, everything changed!

I finally figured out how to group my students according to ability level and teach them WHAT they needed and HOW they needed it, keep my entire class engaged, learning, and being productive while I was teaching in small groups, and organize and scaffold my math instruction to ensure that I was meeting the needs of each student in my class.

And then this happened…

…Because I discovered guided math, and TOOK ACTION ON IT… I was finally able to confidently speak to my parents at conferences and show them the extreme growth their child was making in math.  I was able to truly provide enrichment and rigorous lessons and activities for my high achieving students and their parents WERE NOTICING.

I was teaching my students exactly what they needed to be taught and how they needed to be taught without feeling burned out and exhausted after my math block!

That’s a WIN in my book!

That was it… that was the day…well… the following week and the months to follow, was when I started seeing all of my students reaching the mastery level in every unit that I taught and I never had to worry about struggling to meet their diverse needs… because I was MEETING THEM… FINALLY! And that’s why I’m so passionate about sharing EVERYTHING I KNOW about Guided Math so you can experience the transformation in your own class and LIFE… like it happened in mine!

Launch Guided Math

I IMMERSED myself in all things Guided Math for the past six years and never looked back.  I was officially trained as a Guided Math Trainer to offer professional development to school districts and teachers… and today… I am ECSTATIC to be able to introduce you to…

Guided Math that Works is an online Professional Development Workshop that I created for elementary teachers in Grades 1-5!

This professional development workshop has been a true labor of love that took me a year to develop to ensure that I took all of my LESSONS LEARNED and mistakes that I made along the way and help YOU AVOID making the same mistakes that I made when I first implemented the Guided Math framework in my classroom and feel successful as soon as you put the guided math gears in motion!

Guided Math that Works provides you with a clear and actionable ROADMAP to easily and efficiently get Guided Math up and running in your classroom! I am teaching you EVERYTHING I have done in my own classroom to have a calm, organized, streamlined, and chaos-free guided math block where you will begin to see your students’ math success SOAR!

Here’s the lowdown on Guided Math that Works…

This Professional Development Workshop includes:

  • 5 Learning Modules that contain 24 video-based lessons
  • 5 hours of learning that can be used towards your professional development requirements
  • PDF downloadable workbooks for each module
  • TONS and TONS of amazing BONUSES in the bonus module of the course (OVER $40 in BONUSES ALONE)

This Professional Development Workshop can be done in the comfort of your own home (PJs acceptable) or your school district can purchase licenses for their teachers through our school district licensing program.

Here is an overview of the modules:

(WAIT until you see the BONUSES included!!!)

Here is a snapshot of what the course site looks like!

If you would like to SHARE this Professional Development Workshop with  your administrator, feel free to send them this URL to a Guided Math that Works brochure which will give them the information they need to purchase school district licenses. CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW…

I am so EXCITED to share this new Professional Development Workshop with all of you! I am excited to share my knowledge and experience about Guided Math with all of you! I hope you’ll think about taking the journey into implementing Guided Math in your classroom! I hope you’ll take some time to check out all the information about the course! CLICK HERE to read ALL ABOUT IT! 


Love, Anna
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Anna D.

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I'm Anna DiGilio

Hi, I'm Anna! I was a primary teacher for over twenty-three years, wife of a firefighter, mother of twin teenage boys, obsessed with being creative and helping teachers and love my Saturday morning quiet cup of coffee!
Thanks for stopping by!



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Hi, I'm Anna! I was a primary teacher for over twenty-three years, wife of a firefighter, mother of twin teenage boys, obsessed with being creative and helping teachers and love my Saturday morning quiet cup of coffee!
Thanks for stopping by!

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