"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure"
- Thomas J. Watson
Back to School
On the Sunday before school started 3 things happened:
I was given Paul Solarz name as a person who has successfully implemented Passion Time in his classroom, an idea our team is trying to start in our homeroom classes.
I followed Paul Solarz on Twitter and discovered he had written a book called "Learn Like a PIRATE".
I borrowed the book for free on my Kindle and by the time I was 25% in to it, I fell in love with the method.
After finishing the book the following day, I decided to fully implement his ideas into my classroom this year. Now, this 'jump in before you know what you're doing' is a pretty standard way of doing things for me, and I really enjoy trying new things in the classroom (and outside of it). However, sometimes this method gets me in trouble when I don't fully understand the method, and can cause frustrations for my students and myself.
Getting Over Failure
Since finishing "Learn Like a PIRATE", I have moved on to "Teach Like a PIRATE" by Dave Burgess, which contains the same letters with a different meaning for each. Both books have fantastic ideas for implementing a student-centered classroom (LearnLAP) and teaching with passion (TeachLAP), and it is at the end of TeachLAP that an especially poignant issue comes up, which is about getting over the fear of failure.
In the book, Dave talks about how focused we are with statistics in sports, and how sometimes a fantastic season can be deemed a failure because of one important game's poor stats. He connects this to teaching by explaining how teachers often feel defeated after trying something new and not receiving 100% engagement. This causes teachers to stop trying new things because they feel as if they had failed. The book points out that the goal is more engagement, not total engagement, and that even one more engaged student in a classroom is a success.
Trying new things and getting over the fear of failure are important to my personal belief about what it means to be a teacher. I love that I work in a school that is open to changes (especially when they happen the day before school starts), and that I can fail in the classroom without worry of reprieve. In this sort of encouraging environment, I thrive on the excitement of new ideas about how to create a better classroom for my students.
While it might be a good idea to get into the water by dipping one toe in at a time, I plan on continuing to jump in and include new ideas in my classroom as they come up, because my students can't afford for me to waste time on strategies that don't help them learn and grow. After all, if I expect my students to embrace their failures in the classroom and learn from them, I should expect the same thing from myself.