Skip to content

Failure

January 23, 2012
crows new orleans education

Walking to get coffee after school, I noticed a tree full of crows. I hear them calling to me every day when I teach with the windows open. Not to brag, but it's 75 degrees in New Orleans. In January.

As a teacher, you fail every single day. So many times. You are constantly trying to overcome yourself because you are what stands in the way of success. Sure I’d like to blame poorly educated kids and their oftentimes negligent parents, but really it’s my problem.

Today, my lesson was crap. It flowed like molasses and stank like rotten seafood. So by the time the afternoon had arrived, I scrapped it. Garbage disposal.

I had reached my tipping point during 3rd block. So in the 2 minute passing period, I scrambled, making notes on a Post It. When the lesson began, I sat down on a stool with the 5 kids who were in my 4th period, and started them writing immediately on white boards. This will get any non-writer writing.

They were practicing the “show, don’t tell” portion of writing. So instead of saying you’re scared, you say you almost peed your pants. Instead of saying you’re happy, you jump up and down and cry tears of joy. I asked them questions as they wrote. “How do you show that? Why did you say that? What do we know about you as a person in the story because you did that?” They gobbled it up, and said the most beautiful and surprising things.

I think that they and I both had a similar experience during class: surprising success. They carried the load of learning, I just asked them questions. I watched their faces light up as they were genuinely praised for their creative  yet critical thinking. I let go, and they took control. And it worked.

I guess it’s not so bad failing sometimes. You can’t have peaks without valleys, and midnight guarantees the dawn.

Advertisements
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate Brennan permalink
    January 24, 2012 9:36 am

    LOVE it! I feel so inspired after reading your blogs!

  2. January 25, 2012 12:56 pm

    awesome!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: