Thursday, April 16, 2015

Is Failure Final?

 I often wonder why it is that people are afraid of failure? Beyond that, educators in general seem to be so afraid of failure. Almost every educator recognizes when something doesn't make sense and needs to be changed, but are reluctant to try something different because what if it doesn't work? That would make us failures!! In conjunction with that, every educated and worldly adult knows that we have learned life's lessons through failure. By making mistakes and not giving up. So I ask the question, is failure final?

Well, I would argue that clearly in life it is not. We are able to make mistakes and are provided opportunities to correct our mistakes, learn from them, and move on with life. Often times, the feeling of success that accompanies our learning experiences and/or corrected mistakes is a rejuvenation of life in general. In education, failure has long meant that we are not good enough. Most educators never struggled with school and may not realize what it means to be that student who wasn't successful on the first try. Do we know how that changes the motivation/psyche of a kid? I know I don't, because failure motivates me. However, for many it does not. So how do we reach them?

First, we must not be afraid to fail ourselves. Michael Jordan said, "I've failed over and over. That is why I succeed." Thomas Edison said, "I haven't failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don't work." This attitude is what we need to embrace in education, both as educators searching for change and as facilitators in learning. We have been trained to celebrate success and condemn failure. What would happen if we embraced learning? I bet the world of public education would be a different world if we accepted the failures of our students not as a reflection of our own abilities as a teacher, but as an attempt to receive our admiration and support. Once a failure does not need to equal always a failure. We know this, so let's stop promoting it.

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

We can all admit that the profession is different than when we entered as a first year teacher. What is 1 thing that you used to do as a novice teacher that you know worked, that for one reason or another over the years you've given up on? Why and can you bring back that fire?