Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whaaaa? But, it's OK to Fail

In the interest of improving the quality of faculty development at our school, we put a great deal of thought, money, time and effort into our plan for the year. Our first afternoon workshop centered on giving teachers time to explore online field trips and to find experts that might visit their classrooms virtually. We created a wiki so that teachers could post their work. Although this approach seems to be working, I've realized an important fact: Our teachers do not like to fail any more than our students do. Perseverance is something that is often taught.

Example: One of our teacher teams found this exciting Bats field trip on This site is referenced on several other sites. You can imagine my surprise to find that the registration for the Bats field trip not only did not work (several times), but emails and calls to the company went unanswered. This morning, after three weeks of trying to register, I grasped at one last straw. I tried calling them one more time. This morning, there was an answer: a recorded message played over and over. What did it say? I have no idea because it was clearly in Arabic. Whaaaaa? See for yourself: 1. 866.287.6739

The message here is not that is a questionable organization (although that is a submessage). The message isn't even that you have to work hard as a technology coordinator to help your teachers succeed when they try something new (although that's a submessage too). The message here IS that we need to help our teachers remember, just like we have to teach our kids, that it's okay to fail. That they must persevere in the face of obstacles. We're such a success and achievement oriented culture that we do not often value the journey, only the results. It's a message I believe we all need to remember to send to our teachers and to ourselves as well.

1 comment:

Teach2Connect said...

Thanks ABD. I appreciate this very much in light of finding a bit of failure in my connection between composers and courage. You are great!