There is so much emphasis on product, improvement, and perfection at times that we often forget the value of failure in our practice. My endless pursuit of strategies to improve my own teaching has led me, on a daily basis, to a number of amazing educational blogs that I enjoy reading as I am constantly challenged to reflect on my own practice.
As I scour the internet looking for insight, ideas, and examples of good teaching practice I find that, more often than not, the blogs I visit are wonderful and full of an amazing array of information. I appreciate how people share, I really do. However, the habit that I see many bloggers fall into, and I am very guilty of this myself, is documenting only our successes. Highlighting our successes is, of course, extremely valuable. After all, who wants to see anything less than this?
Don’t get me wrong, I value success and the sharing of it, but success is a result of hard work, determination, trial and error, and reflection. Personally and professionally, I am very proud of the work that I do, but it comes as a direct result of hundreds of hours of planning and reflection. Over the years, I have had what I felt were many excellent ideas only to have them come crashing down on me, leaving me to question how good a teacher I really am. As I write this blog post, I am reminded by the fact that without failure and challenge, we would not know what the powerful concepts of persistence and resilience are all about.
The vision that I have for PE in the 21st century is constantly changing as I learn new information, shuffle and dismiss old information as I test out different theories, and explore the multitude of research out there. I will encounter failure each step along this journey and must remember to document these times just as much as I document the things that go well in my program. Identifying our struggles and the burning questions that we have is an essential component in making the necessary improvement needed as educators.
My advice is to have a vision, to plan the best way we can for it, to execute it in the most efficient way possible, BUT continue to reflect on the true effectiveness of our teaching practice by looking at our failures and shortcomings as educators and set goals to improve.