A few weekends back, I did something that I NEVER saw happening, in a million years. I got up in front of a group of people and spilled my guts! I had the pleasure of giving a mini-keynote to educators at #EdCampYO. The topic was: #FailForward, which is one of my favorites. As with everything I do, I was totally vulnerable and took a huge risk. When you do something like this, you never really know how it is received, unless someone tells you. The most amazing thing happened throughout the day. People were coming up to me, thanking me for inspiration! ME? Inspiring? That is what others are for me. Were people just being kind, because we were in the same space? I don't know. I am still trying to wrap my heart and mind around the whole experience. I will share the most amazing moment, in another post.
For this post (this may be multiple posts), I wanted to write out my message from that day. Mostly for me, but hopefully someone will connect to it. So here goes...
One such moment that sticks out, doesn't even belong to me. About 8 years ago, my grade level partner was moved to a different school site because of numbers. She told me this story from the first few weeks. She passed out paper to her 4th graders, gave them each a brand new paint set and a cup of water. Her directions were "go forth and paint". She turned around to paint herself. When she turned back around, she was met with 30+ pairs of eyes staring at her, frozen. When she inquired why they weren't painting, they said they didn't know what to paint, they were worried that they wouldn't paint what she wanted, they were scared of making a mistake or a mess. This broke her heart and mine. These students were frozen by fear of failure that was put upon them by some other. My friend spent a lot of time, deprogramming these students. I didn't know what to do with that information, so I filed it away in my heart and mind.
She told me that she admired that I didn't hesitate to try new things with my students. Up until this point, I didn't even realize that was a "thing". I thought that was just what you do. You try new things, see what happens and move forward from there. Apparently, not. She told me that she wished she could take risks for and with her students, but she was afraid of failing in front of them. She was scared of failing in front of her 6 year olds, so she didn't even try. This broke my heart. This broke my heart because I thought of all the great that was being lost, not only for her, but for her students. I didn't know what to do with that, so I filed it away in my mind and my heart.
I guess, at some point, I had developed this "Leap Theory". I just did things, not worrying about the consequences (if it was tied to my purpose). That may just be my switch flip moment, I didn't realize that was what I was doing. I wasn't afraid to fail, for the benefit of my students.
To conclude this piece in the series, I will leave you with this. It is important to distinguish between a failure and a fail. I think when we talk about a "failure" we make it about us, we internalize it. We may beat ourselves up and begin to believe that is who we are. I have been down that rabbit hole and it is dark and doesn't do anyone any good. We need to flip that switch and shed light on the situation. We need to look through our "perspectacles" and look at it differently. A fail happened, it is not us. It is what we do with that fail, that is important....
Stay tuned for more...
Mother, Teacher, Presenter, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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