Permission to Fail

I've been wanting to try something with my students for years but have put it off because I was worried that it wouldn't turn out the way I hoped it would. I won't bore you with the details of exactly what it was. I finally realized that I had to try, though, because of one of the biggest lessons I've learned as a teacher: magical things can happen when you give yourself permission to fail.
Reminding myself of this lesson makes me work toward going bigger, better, and bolder every time. Sure, we totally crash and burn on "guinea pig" days in class sometimes. Yet, it's all worth it for the grins we get to share on the days when we realize that something is going right. Really right. Awesomely right.
I set a personal goal to get my students to the point where I felt that we were ready to try the thing. You know, that thing... from the first paragraph. Little by little, chunk by chunk, we scaffolded and prepared without them even knowing that this thing was looming ahead that I just knew had to happen. I finally told them yesterday because today was the big day. I hoped that it would build their confidence when I shared with them that I was finally willing to try because of them. We put in the work. We were ready.
My students exceeded my wildest expectations today. They were articulate, thoughtful, and mature in their discourse. They were respectful in their handling of each other and of the variety of ideas that were floating around the classroom. They were just awesome, and I was so proud. I wish I could take credit for this, but it was really all them. They helped me to reach my own personal goal by showing me what they could do when I trusted them with it. They were great teachers when I was willing to be a student myself. What more could I ask for in a day of teaching?
What kind of magic might happen if I start to apply this lesson to my own life more? I'm looking forward to figuring this out. :)
Thank you, permission to fail, you made my day.


Chris Connelly said…
I recently watched a video that talked about failure. Its interesting the fear it can instill in someone, and thats when you take that fear and use it to motivate yourself, its amazing what can be achieved. Fear is a powerful motivating factor.

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