Thursday, October 9, 2014

Failing Loud and Proud #EdChat

I've written plenty of times about failure over the years, but I I feel there is always plenty to say since I still fail and learn from that failure.

The other day, I was trying to show students how to submit assignments using Google Classroom. I have not used it before and I am learning how to use it on the fly. I thought I had turning in a assignments figured out and I was wrong. I wasn't just wrong, I was wrong in front of a class of 32 honors students. My students were working in groups to create a Student Declaration of Independence and I wanted them to submit their work to Classroom. I thought anyone in the group could do it, but it turns out it needs to be the owner of the originally shared document that has to submit the work. All of my students looked funny at me as my attempts to have one of them submit the work and it kept failing. I took a minute collected my thoughts and did a quick search and found the solution. I told the kids that this was all still a work in progress and I appreciate them taking the time to learn with me.

I feel that some teachers are too resistant to making mistakes in front of students. Teachers are not perfect beings and we need to stop presenting ourselves to students (and other teachers) as being perfect people with no examples of failure. We want to push our students to take chances, but we might not be willing to take the same chance in front of students. I'm not saying that teachers should be unprepared for class and do things on the fly. I'm saying that teachers should own their mistakes in front of the class, show how it is a moment for us to learn, and encourage kids to take the same chances.

Students need to feel comfortable making mistakes and trying something new. Teachers need to model this behavior and own mistakes proudly. I will need to remind myself of this and not let the embarrassment of failure be the guiding force in my lesson plans or day to day interaction with students and staff.

How have you failed in class lately?