Failing for Success

I will admit I am terrified of having my own classroom. The thought of it is daunting, intimidating, and just downright scary. When I look at what I am afraid of, however, I see that I am actually afraid of failing.

Failure is a big fat fluffy nope for me, as well as a lot of people. We are taught from a an early age that failure is bad and should be avoided at all cost. It never occurs to us that sometimes we need to fail to grow. We need failure to point out where our weak spots are, what we need to improve on, and where we need guidance or advice.

I am terrified I will not be able to help my students, that I will drop the ball with their education and only hurt them instead of help them. My greatest fear is having a student that I simply cannot teach or give the resources they need. Will I be able to make every interaction a series of rainbows and glitter? Absolutely not, but I hope to at least make it a positive experience for each of my students.

One way I can do that is to fail in front of my students. They need to see that failure is not the final end it is made out to be. Even a phoenix rose from the ashes. By failing, even in a tiny way, I can help liberate my students from the constant pressure of success, and show them that success is not always standing on top of a podium with a trophy in hand. Sometimes, it is discovering fifty different ways to not grade papers.

I am terrified to fail, as it can often mess up more than it helps. Yet I want to be real. I want to be genuine with my students. I want to teach them the truth, and failure comes with that. It is all part of the package. I wish my teachers had taught me to fail. To this day my knee-jerk reaction to the thought of failure is horror. I have come to realize, however, that I need to accept that as my reality. Avoid failure, yes, but when it happens, recognize it, absorb it, and use it to improve.

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One Comment

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  1. Just remember how you felt as you were completing the Unfamiliar Genre Project; you were failing because you were trying to learn and determined to grow, and that was basically the point. Do you think you would try something similar with your own students? Could that be a way of modeling the growth process you value here?

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