The blog this week is all about failure. It's something we all hate, but in the end, it makes us better. It also means we have to take the time to give a person enough space to make sure they can recover and improve from that fall. It's going to happen, so why not use it as a learning experience rather than a judging experience.
The idea for this blog really started with my beloved Florida State Seminoles. I did not go to school there, but they have always been my team. Both my parents were graduates, and the only reason I did not go, there was simply because I was not good enough to play there.
If you have not seen, they are failing. They have a new coach, Willie Taggart, who is in his second year, and it's easily the hardest to watch Florida State team that I have ever seen. Folks are calling for Willie to get fired.
I know college sports are a ruthless game but is this fair to him? He has not had time to implement his ideas fully. He has not had time to fail and learn from it. He has not had time to take what he learned and apply it for the better. He might have experience, but each new set of people and places brings its own challenges.
Being the educator I am, that lack of rope Willie is getting led me back to both education and my own career. I think we as both a society and in this education field that we have all chosen, don't let folks fail enough. We judge people by their failures when really we should judge them by their progress. You can tell the real winners by the ones who do everything they can to not fail the same way twice.
Is there a place that shows this more than in the education field? If you are or were in the classroom, think back to your first days in the classroom. Where you good at what you do? I know I wasn't. I sucked. I had a great student teaching year, and I thought I could just conquer it. My first year was alot of failing though.
I did not want to fail. I was not satisfied with being bad or just average. I tried to make things better continually, and those little improvements got me to a point where I was somewhat (are we ever fully?) satisfied after ten years. Yes, it took 10 years.
Teaching is a hard profession, yet right now, we judge people based on data and numbers. If we keep doing that, we are going to continue to drive educators out of the field. Educators should be judged on their ability to improve. If they have that want to, they will be fine. They may need a little guidance (that's what a good administrator does), but they will eventually get there.
Students are the exact same way. We repeatedly give them numbers and data that signify if they are good or bad. Why do we do that? Think about the student who regularly gets those bad marks. It's easy for them to fall in the trap of not believing and not caring. Why can't we have a system that lets them know they made a mistake or got something wrong, and then allows them to fix it. We need to let them grow, not take away their spirit.
This is something that even society needs to take hold of. Unless someone is super well trained, they are going to do a lot of failing at first. If they have the right drive that won't happen for long, though. They will learn from their mistakes and try new things. We need to give everyone the ability to do that.
Let's change society. Failure isn't a bad thing. It only becomes bad if you don't have the drive to change it. We should remember that we deal with both students and teachers.