Prompt: How can teachers contend with setbacks in education?
Over the past year my students have probably heard me say, "Don't be afraid to fail. To fail is the First Attempt In Learning," around 100 times. But the truth of the matter is it's true! No one came into this world perfect. Everyone has had to work hard at something throughout their life that may have been more challenging than expected. Teachers are not any different.
Everyday we strategically plan, observe, take note of the good, the bad, and the ugly, and reflect on the impact the lesson/activity/process has on the students. Every lesson cannot be perfect. Even if it was perfect in 2011, doesn't mean it will be perfect for students in 2014. Our students change, their needs change, and our ability to adapt to those changes is necessary.
I had a boss, who was a teacher, once ask if I was flexible? This question stemmed from a conversation about entering the teaching profession. As a college student, I answered "no." To be honest, I wasn't. At this point in my life, things happened when they were supposed to happen and I wasn't willing to do much budging. However, my need to be flexible has changed drastically over the 7 years I've been teaching and as I've become a mother to two little boys. I found out from day one that teaching (and mothering) is not picture perfect. There are obstacles and challenges at every bell and you must be willing to shift with the wind.
From time to time, I sit and wonder why I got so lucky to be doing what I do on a daily basis. I believe the reason I feel this way is I have learned to use challenges and setbacks as my driving force. So where does this driving force come from? Yes, a lot of it is my personality, but a lot of it stems from my interactions with educators across the world on Twitter. When I've had a rough day and am feeling defeated, they are the ones that pick me up. They tell me that it is okay to fail. It is okay to have setbacks, but it is what you do with those setbacks that is important. Everyday I must remember this and I must model it for my students. Failure is a learning process that everyone will encounter at some point or another throughout their lives. It's what you do as a result that really matters.