Don’t be afraid to fail

A favorite speaker of mine, Tony Campolo, talked once about a study done of old people. The researcher asked of these octogenarians, “If you had to do life over again, what would you change?” They responded with three things:

a. They would risk more.

b. They would reflect more.

c. They would do more things that would live on after they were dead.

Personally I favor the last one. I want to re-focus my life to do more things that will live on after I am dead. For me, these are things that bring people (myself, my family, etc.) closer to Jesus. This can take on a lot of different faces, but mostly it just involves loving people.

After this major objective of mine come the other two things: take more risks and reflect more. Teachers, join me in the risk taking. You moved around the world to take a job in India for goodness sake. Take that same spirit of adventure with you into the classroom with regards to technology. Try a new tool. Let your students create a totally off-the-wall tech embedded project. Do an “anything goes” creative digital project that involves students from around the world. Take 1 photo a day of 1 person and string them together to tell a story (100 faces in 100 days project) Let your students make a video, about anything at all, and them challenge them to connect it to the unit. Let a mentally challenged adult or VOP (very old person) take part in your next lesson to give your students perspective (perhaps via Skype but in person is even better!)

That’s right, get out of your comfort zone (I am talking loudest to myself) and don’t be afraid to FAIL. After all if you never fail you are probably not challenging yourself.

2 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid to fail

  1. Thanks for sharing this David. I often find myself thinking, ‘I will do that next year, I am just not ready to try it yet.’ The root cause of this thought is usually fear of failure. I think this is one of the reasons so many teachers are hesitant to relinquish and control in their classrooms. 100 faces in 100 days sounds like a very interesting project. Maybe I will try that next y…NOOOOO.

  2. I truly believe that from our greatest failures come our best success stories. I have learned more from falling on my face than I ever have from winning a race. At 14 years old I almost lost my life. My family swears that I haven’t stopped living every day to the fullest since then. But how do we instill this in our students? What motivates them to take a chance and put themselves out there? Do we give them enough chances in the school day to fail when we continue to grade them on their level of success? We have to allow students the opportunity not just to fail, but to learn and grow from that experience. I don’t think we are there yet, and that worries me.

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