Monday, May 16, 2016

Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about (John Lennon)

I was talking to a colleague t'other day about failure. Along the lines of - our students need to experience some failure.

I've mentioned this before in previous posts (I searched 'failure' on the blog and among the posts was an old prizegiving speech - fun reading that) but it can stand another thrust into the limelight: I was a spectacular failure at school

  • I had to repeat a year at primary school (my birthday's in October) 
  • I had to repeat my fifth form year (the current Year 11) 
  • I did not gain a bursary to go to university
  • I turned 19 in my last year of school
  • I failed my drivers' license the first time
  • I was turned down twice for a teachers' studentship to attend university 
  • I have truly lost count of the number of jobs I have failed to get over the years

And yet here I am. 

I have a masters degree in English with honours, I have a masters degree in educational management, I have a number of other diplomas and I have always got a great job when I needed one.

Why? Two reasons: 1 My parents never gave up on me. They celebrated my small successes when they came because they knew how hard I'd fought for them. 

2 My school (Mt Albert Grammar) never gave up on me - no one ever said to me, "Warren - you need to give up this dream of going to University and becoming a teacher". Never. Not once. Not even close.

This may strike you as an unusual story. It's not.

Every school I've taught in has contained staff like me and Michael Jordan, all with a litany of failures behind them.

That conversation with a colleague the other ended with us comparing our lengthy list of failures (I think I won).

Failure is not a bad thing. Failure can be the secret of success.

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