Wednesday, January 5, 2011

When Failure is a Success

I was tweeted this post on failure by a good friend. This post is written by a chap named Khatzumoto who appears to be blogging about learning Japanese.

The friend who referred me to his post is quite an inspiration to me. He has a full time job yet volunteers in my classroom 3 full days a week. He has a heart for kids and I feel like he is a true partner in trying to change the way schools and, in particular, my classroom works. From what I can tell, his experience at school was one where he was a talented, intelligent young person whose academic needs were not entirely met by the traditional school model. Any adult in my classroom can see that my vision for my class and reality don't always match up. I fail all the time.

Years ago, I decided that I had been a teacher long enough to know better than to run my classroom in the same way any longer. I had years of experience and knowledge to make it better. Since that time, I have continually tried to change the way learning happens in my class. Our board might call it "renewal". I have enjoyed the challenges and my students have benefited although I have not yet gotten it right. If I am ever unhappy about my classroom it is because it falls short of what it could/should be. I fail all the time.

People like my volunteer friend deserved better than what they got in traditional schooling as do my students. I may not be meeting my goals for changing my classroom, at least I'm trying. Not trying would be the true failure.

Khatzumoto quotes Michael Jordan, stating that massive failure is the key to success.

"I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

I am not comparing myself to Michael Jordan, I am more like my friend who is volunteering in my classroom. We both think that the classroom can be a better place to learn and are willing to fail a lot along the way.

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