Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Permission to Fail

This happens to me every year.

All summer, I am able to read, keep up on twitter, maybe even blog (OK twice so far - not counting today, but it was a start!)  And then as soon as school starts - I loose it!  I vow that next year I will manage my time and energy better but I never can keep all the balls in the air.

How do others do that - blog, read, tweet...maintain relationships outside of school and home? I really wish I knew the secret.

I am so much happier when I feel connected.  Yes, twitter and voxer counts as connected. 

I love to read and learn.  In the summer, between grade-level books and professional reading, I am constantly absorbing.  I work on writing about reading.  This summer, I participated in a bookclub with other teachers, practicing what we ask students to do.  I met with other teachers to discuss ideas for math workshop.

But then school starts and BAMMM...I fall off the planet.

This year, I could blame it on a new position in a new school.  A position that requires me to create a curriculum as I go.  But I know that is not the real reason because this happens every year.  (P.S. - I am one of those crazy people that likes data and writing assessments and creating as I go).

Sometimes it makes me feel like a failure because I can't do it all.

Then I stop and think about what I am doing.

I am 100% present when I am with my students.  

I am trying out new ideas. This year, thanks to Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler, I am totally redoing how I teach math.

I am a wife, mother, nonna, friend, daughter, and sister (there are more - but you get the idea).

I have to accept that I cannot do it all. 

So, while I admire those that can, it is time to accept me for me.  I can only do what I can do.  I need to stop comparing myself against others - just as I don't compare students against each other.  We are all different with different capacities for learning and doing.  And sometimes I simply want to lay in my hammock and snooze.

That's OK.

So while I will continue to admire people that can accomplish what I cannot, I will try harder to accept me as I am.  
A teacher struggling to write with some consistency.  
A Nonna that doesn't want to miss too much of her first grandson.
A wife that likes to watch a favorite show or two with her husband.
A friend that values coffee dates to "catch-up."

Earlier this year, I made a goal to write every day. So far, I have failed.  Typically failure makes me give up (sad but true) but this year, I am going to forgive myself.  I am going to allow myself time to learn and build habits.  Some weeks I will manage. Some weeks I won't.

I am giving myself permission to try - and fail - just so I can try again.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers and Slice of Life for creating this opportunity.


  1. Wow, I feel that failing, falling sensation as the workload hits me. I miss my summer reading...
    But you've identified the trap of thinking I can do it all. I can maintain some semblance of a reading life, but I have a job and a half to do.
    I'm not failing, I'm just doing the things that need to be done at this season.
    And, resting and taking care of yourself and your loved ones is super, uber important.
    Sometimes being driven to exhaustion is a kind of "badge" for some people. Brene Brown calls it armor, to avoid being vulnerable. I listened to her book on CD, The Power of Vulnerability and it made me look at some of my drive to do it all differently.

  2. You sound so much like me! We have many of the same desires and distractions. I look at others and wonder how they do it, and I see all the things they are doing and Iʻm not. Iʻve noticed that Iʻm not as good at figuring out what Iʻm doing and they are not. I just seem to assume that they can do everything I do PLUS what they do. But your line about being 100% present, thatʻs special. Iʻve watched lots of teachers and most of them are not that present to their kids. Iʻm cheering for us both!

  3. Yup- I have failed at keeping up with all I would like in these first weeks too. I love your message to give yourself permission to try and fail (in my case again and again). As I taught a lesson today on grit in reading today it is a great lesson for me to pass on to my students too!

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