Let’s face it, as educators, we like to play it safe. We like to earn our gold stars and cross all T’s and dot all of our I’s. We like to get things right. In fact, we fear failure. It plagues us in our back to school dreams, nerves prior to observations, and any time we tip toe outside of our comfort zone the trepidation is real.
How can we expect our learners to step outside their comfort zones and feel confident taking risks if we fail to take any of our own? If we aren’t willing to make mistakes, can we ever really hit our fullest potential?
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s ok to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” – H. Stanley Judd
I firmly believe that the fear we place in change impacts our students. If they only see adults being perfect specimens, getting it right all the time, and fearing to fix “what isn’t broken,” how do we anticipate asking them to go out on a limb and take risks for us?
We need to ensure that we are modeling for them what we want to see from them. As role models, we need to realize that our need for perfection is intimidating to the people around us, especially the young ones who look up to us. When we make errors, it’s always a good idea to face them head on, ask for their feedback on how to adjust, and try it again! This concept mirrors the design thinking process; you brainstorm, you plan, you dream, you prototype, you test, and you adjust until you succeed.
Our students need to realize that progress is a process. Progress is not a race. It’s cyclical, there will be strides forward and backward, and their will be times when we need to go back to the drawing board. But as a well known inventor and scientist once said,
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison