Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Getting comfortable with failure

This is a repost from a favorite website: www.thedailycafe.com

Schools are the perfect place to build tenacity,resiliency and fortitude.

Try Something New

Joan Moser 

I was recently listening to Kathleen Turner, stage and film actor, as she talked on NPR about her long career. I was especially interested when she shared her philosophy about accepting work projects. In the interview she said, "I have to find projects that I might fail at doing. Because if I don't, then I am just repeating what I already know I can do. And secondly, I won't ever know what I might be able to do." Where does that kind of attitude and belief come from? Was she just born with it?

There is a striking similarity between Ms. Turner and many of the children we work with. We encourage students to try something new, to stretch themselves further, and to not be afraid. Some bump against roadblocks that require tenacity to push through, and they are able to do just that.

But what about the students who are afraid to fail, don't have the spirit to take risks, or are lacking an attitude of perseverance? Were they, in turn, just born that way?

In my first years as a teacher, I used to look at children who were assigned to me as those who were independent and those who weren't. Now I know that all children can be taught to be independent. This is why I cannot quit thinking about Kathleen Turner's interview. I truly believe that we need to teach children to try things at which they may fail. Through our own modeling of trying new things, pushing through tough times, sticking with it, and yes, failing and starting again, we can help every student reach their untapped potential.