Saturday, October 23, 2010

Falling and Failing but not Dying

"You will still have an F on your report card, but you won't have failed at life."

This is a bit of advice I gave to a student when we was upset about his grade for the first 6 weeks. Now, he knew that the reason he failed was because he chose not to do a big project we had done. I talked to him about how sometimes we fail, but we have to learn from our mistakes and pull ourselves up from it. I ended with that last sentence, which probably sounded pretty corny but at least it was from the heart.

I think about how I have learned to internalize this advice. There have been so many times this year where I have felt overwhelmed, fallen flat on my face, and just bombed some lessons. As all first year teachers usually do, I stress out and stay up late trying to overcome whatever it is I need to beat. I try to get as much done as possible. Unlike many first year teachers (and many people in general), once the deadline is passed and I still don't have all of my midterm grades in (or the meeting started and I haven't analyzed my data or whatever it was I was supposed to do) I let go of the stress. I take a note of what it was I failed at and I start thinking of ways to overcome it next time. How can I change my actions so that this does not happen again?

You see, reflection is the key to any positive change. Once an event has passed, their is no going back to change it. You cannot turn back time to fix what has already been done. All you can do is look toward changing the future. I consider myself a pretty optimistic person and I am sure that that outlook helps me to be able to leave the stress behind. I figure, everything happens for a reason, even if that reason is just so you learn something.

So when you feel like you're falling, or you realize you've failed, just get up and brush it off. You're still alive and have plenty of time to change everything for the better.