Today, I admitted my failure to my entire high school staff.
It was exciting, scary, exhilarating, and terrifying all at the same time.
I absolutely love speaking, seriously, I actually VOLUNTEER to speak in front of about 200-300 people at least once a month.
But, admitting that you failed….pretty epically…to your colleagues that you work with everyday is hard. But, I survived, and you know what? MULTIPLE teachers came up to me afterwords saying they have a similar story and were THANKFUL I was vulnerable sharing my story.
So, since you all are MY PEOPLE, I wanted to share with you too.
Here it is…my story of failure…
Alight participation time. Take the card you got as you walked in and write a goal you have in your head that scares the crap out of you, I teach Ag I promise I am allowed to say crap.SERIOUSLY, WRITE IT DOWN. I’ll wait….
It can literally be anything, and don’t share it, it’s your goal and my friend Rachel Hollis says NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR DREAMS.
Yup, I said it. Actually, Rachel did, but i believe it.
I WHOLEHEARTEDLY believe this.
Let me tell you about my dream. I want to create a nationwide online summer conference for agriculture teachers. Where I organize the best teachers from across the country sharing relevant content that will help ag teachers stay GREEN and GROWING.
And guess what…about half of you have tuned out….BECAUSE YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT MY DREAMS. Not because you don’t care about me the person, but because MY DREAMS do not have the same VALUE to you as they do me.
So your dream is different, but you know what…those dreams all come pre packaged with failure. YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL. Now, it’s your turn to determine how you HANDLE that failure. And i believe that the way you fail and learn from the process can help you be a better teacher.
How do you PERSONALLY feel about failure. No seriously, on a scale from 1-5 using your hand. 1 being I shake in my boots when you say the work fail, to 5 I fail like ALL the time and love it. Hands up, yup, I wanna see them (virtually :)). Thank you for your honesty.
Failure is part of our job, we literally get to determine if people PASS or FAIL everyday. Not many people have that type of POWER over other individuals. But, we do it, everyday, for hundreds of students.
But, what about us. Can we fail? DO we fail? Is failure even an option for us?
That was my first semester freshman year GPA at UGA.
Is that embarrassing to share with you, heck yes. But, this was my starting line for learning how to fail.
A few weeks back I was listening to a podcast that featured John Maxwell a personal growth expert who shared his CYCLE OF SUCCESS. Here it is…. TRY, FAIL, LEARN, IMPROVE, RE-ENTER. Let’s go through the cycle together with my awesome first year at GA.
Y’all I TRIED to pass, I promise you, I studied, went to class, I went to study halls, ALL THE THINGS. BUT, I just wasn’t ready for college. So I EASILY moved onto the second section of the cycle FAIL. I failed with flying colors, I am sure some people didn’t go to class once and got a better GPA then I did.
And then, my mom found out. And she gave me an ultimatum that I will never forget. You get that GPA up or you have to move home to Maryland It was the FIRE under my rear that I needed to move to the LEARN section of the cycle.
Y’all my second semester, I took better classes for my personality, changed my major to education (PRAISE), forged relationships with my professors and classmates, and LEARNED how to manage college life in the right way.
And I SURE did improve. All A’s and one B (dang you English 1102, shakes fist). I IMPROVED more than just my grades, I improved my friends, my eating habits, my comfort in college. YES, I did it. I finished the cycle of success….
But wait, Maxwell added something that I think we AND our students tend to forget…WE HAVE TO RE-ENTER, jump back on that horse, try something new, get out of our Zone of Proximal Development, take chances make mistakes and get messy.
So…here is where you jump in. YOU and YOUR STUDENTS. YOU need to be failing. You need to be out of your comfort zone and which will help you become be best teacher and person you can be.
Without failure THERE IS NO GROWTH.
When we sit in our classrooms on cruise control, WE are doing a DISSERVICE to our students and showing them they can just COAST and when they FEEL FAILURE for that first time IT IS GOING TO HURT like flat on your face hurt.
BUT, when you understand that they are JUST ON STEP 2 of the cycle of success you can share with them your experience in failure, like me in college, or the first time I tried pure barre and couldn’t walk for a week or that first professional development session you gave. YOU CAN BE HUMAN WITH THEM and share with them that it is ALL A PART of GROWTH.
I KNOW you can succeed at that goal that you wrote on the paper. Keep it, put it on you computer, or mirror, or car dash to remind yourself of YOUR DREAMS which are valid, powerful and perfect FOR YOU.
Don’t give up on yourself at step 2 of the cycle of success. Don’t give up on your students at step 2 of the cycle of success. KEEP GOING to LEARN and IMPROVE.
AND don’t forget to RE-ENTER!