As I scroll through my Twitter feed the same phrases and keywords keep appearing. I repeatedly see Grit, Failure, Growth Mindset, and perseverance. I LOVE these words and the meaning behind them. In fact, I often encouraged my students to take risks and I would tell them, “You never know what you can do until you try”! I was constantly providing opportunities for my students to challenge their skill set and backed up my encouragement with “if you mess up, we will fix it”!
Here comes the tricky part, was I follow my own preaching/teaching? Did I give up when I came upon a task that I couldn’t understand, figure out, or conquer with ease? Was I “that student” that irritated me when they gave up too quickly?
Unfortunately, I think I was “that student” the other day as I found myself sitting at my computer working on this very webpage. I have taken zero HTML coding classes and don’t anticipate enrolling in one anytime soon. After struggling with a coding issue I turn to 5 technicians, assuming that they will know how to instantly fix my problem, and they simply look at me dumbfounded. I’m definitely not the most patient person so not getting help from 5 technicians made my HTML issue elevate to another level.
I took a deep breath and spent another 15 minutes researching, clicking on random settings, and still didn’t fix my problem. To be honest, at this point I gave up. I turned to my coworkers and said “I’m over this.” I moved on to another task and as I worked I realized that I was being ridiculous and that I had given up because no one in the room could help me. Does this sound like your classroom? I bet you are thinking of a student right now that has experienced this same scenario.
It took me a few minutes to realize why I was upset, I originally thought I was irritated with the webpage, but after a few minutes it dawned on me that I was giving up when I encountered a challenge. It also occurred to me that teachers are not practicing what they are teaching. Some of the most obvious examples are when teachers play on their phones during professional development or when they don’t turn in lesson plans on time or they forget to read their emails. Yes, we are all human, but I started to think about common teacher complaints and realized that we as educators are guilty of the same crimes as our students.
In reflection, I am glad that I experienced failure because it reminded me to be the student that I would want in my classroom. And yes, I showed tremendous grit, perseverance, and celebration when I figured out my webpage issue!