As a new school year begins, I tend to drift back to my experiences in school as a child. I hated school! During summer vacation, I roamed the woods and fields on my family farm and loved the feeling of escape from timelines, expectations and grades. I used to have nightmares of red pens scribbling all over assignments I poured gut-wrenching hours into, just to receive a borderline C- on.
Basically, I was afraid of failure. My mom was a highly respected principal of a Lutheran school; my dad was a retired Marine with a highly decorated military record, and my older brother was a lifetime honor student.
Does this sound like a few of your students? We have all had students who come to us with a lot of baggage, not to mention a constant fear of failure.
Unfortunately, most of our students have had failures not only in school but throughout their lives.
Broken homes and relationships, unemployment, denied a premium job and the list goes on.
The last thing a potential student wants to hear is the following: failure forges greatness, failure makes you humble, builds character and failure is what happens to you, not what is you. Personally, I would leave immediately!
2020 has been a year of disappointments and adjustments. Teachers and students have experienced the disappointment of non-traditional teaching, HSE testing came to an immediate halt, and not achieving life goals as planned.
Regardless, I continue to look optimistically at the upcoming school year and 2021. I am simply amazed and befuddled to see how adult education teachers have transformed into virtual teaching super-heroes! Zoom meetings, creative teaching, inclusion techniques, and collaboration tactics have surmounted the COVID-19 threat.
So what happens when we experience failure? As one of my incarcerated students, humbly stated, “…we get up and try again because that’s just what we do!”