Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight #sol18
March 20, 2018
Passing by in the hallway, my colleague says, How’s your day going? Terrible, I say. Relief crosses her face. Really? Me too! I just didn’t want to admit it. Four snow days in five school days has made a Friday feel like three days. But sometimes, it’s more than that. Sometimes teachers feel like they have run off the road into the weeds.
There are times when great teachers, good teachers, teachers teaching out there on the very edge of the proverbial frontier feel deep in their bones, their gut, their core that they are getting it wrong. So what? Wait, what???
If we are going to get it right with a capital R, we have to be willing to get it really terribly wrong. It’s all a huge experiment… or a small experiment and we have to be willing to have it… well, fizzle. That is so rough. So many things come into play. Who we think is watching? Who we think is judging? Everything we feel about failure ourselves.
Epic tries occasionally produce epic(ish) fails. It can be difficult to go back to the mats, start over step by step. But the payoff… it’s so rich.
One of the things that happens when we never fail is that the kiddos believe that failure is not an option. When we struggle with the lesson, with the timing, with our own words, the students know that everyone does. When we flat out say, wow, we need a redo, kids feel that giving something another go is a viable option.
10,000 hours, Malcolm Gladwell, in Outliers, claims it takes to become a master of ONE PARTICULAR THING. See more about it here. That is approximately ten years. The thing about the job of an educator is that we are constantly shifting what the target is. We are changing curriculum at a break neck speed, adapting to all around us: new students, new materials, new challenges. One of my colleagues equates this to rebuilding the plane in flight. Speaking of flight, I have also heard the factoid that teachers make more decision per day than an air traffic controller, arguably one of the most stressful jobs.
Knowing all of this, feeling this way (sometimes), what do we do? We do what we encourage our students to do when things don’t go well. We keep going, we try again, we persevere. We rethink, review, retry. Just like my heroes, Lewis and Clark, we proceed on.
I think about the teacher, the coach, the educator that I want to be. After thirty seven year, I’m still a work in progress. I hope I never stop being one.
Sometimes these feelings are a result of the season, the testing, lots of meetings, snow days. Sometimes they happen when we are trying something new, challenging, daunting. You know that saying, more is caught that taught. Catch me struggling. Catch me striving. Catch me when my reach is exceeding my grasp.
Reading Food for Thought: A Mindset for Learning
Thank you to my writing community at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life. This is day 20 of a 31 day writing streak in the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Read some incredible Slices here.