As a new teacher, I feel like I fail in new and exciting ways everyday. I say exciting because I have to remind myself that failure shows us how to live better. In fact, since I stopped being afraid of failing, I opened myself up to pursuing endeavors that actually excite me.
Before, it was too demoralizing to think that I might fail at something that I really loved. I mean, think about it. You finally go after your dreams, don’t achieve them, and then what? What are you left with? I feared that if I lost the dreams, then I’d really hit bottom.
Fortunately, my view of failure magically shifted. I realized that the people who achieve anything worthwhile, fail, then try again, and again, and again. So, here I am, “failing” in little ways at teaching and writing on a regular basis, but still doing them both anyway. In fact, I’d wager that my little failures help me get better everyday. And, at least now, my dreams are potentially achievable. I was getting nowhere by protecting them from failure.
This may seem obvious, or repetitive with things I have said before, but it’s a reminder that I have to give myself all of the time. Even though I also have little successes everyday, it is still the failures that keep me striving to improve. Why are some of my students still not learning? Why is that student still so behaviorally challenging? Why does that whole section of my book still feel like it sucks?
Now, here’s the thing, focusing on our failures may seem pessimistic or overly harsh, but I disagree. As long as we also celebrate our successes, failure is our chance to grow, to take action, and to be amazing!
On this note of eventual success, I want to express my gratitude for two unexpected sources of generosity today:
Out of the blue, my stepdad and mom solicited a donation from O’Bon for a class set of colored pencils, (and, these aren’t just any colored pencils, they’re eco-friendly, durable, and just-plain cute!). My kind helpers were inspired by a story from my classroom when students received their own packs of crayons, (also thanks to my stepdad). The kids were so excited that they cheered. Ever since then, we’ve colored coded EVERYTHING we do and the students are much more engaged in their note-taking, math lessons, and worksheets as a result. Amazing what a little color and art can do to stimulate the brain!
Thanks Dave, Mom, and O’Bon!
|Seriously cool art supplies! Click here to check out O’Bon’s site!
I don’t know what was in the air today, but a parent also called to offer to buy pizzas for our class lunch party tomorrow. We’re celebrating the learning growth of students that kicked butt on their spring tests and her daughter was among the highest performers. Because our school serves a very low-income population, I often have trouble getting basic supplies, (like kleenex and dry erase markers), so the offer for pizza was extra generous! The parent told me that she was just grateful for how much I’d helped her daughter grow. This touched my heart and reminded me that even amidst the failures, there are still a lot of successes to celebrate!