I make mistakes! I am human, it is what we do. No one is perfect.
I am an educator, I make mistakes, it is what we do, no one is perfect!
Often, the title of ‘role model‘ gets in the way of reality. Being a role model means being real, being open and honest, walking the walk.
In education we hear the term ‘be a role model’ all the time but very rarely do we stop and evaluate what that actually means for the students (and staff) we work with.
To me, being a role model means being real. It means that I make mistakes and I make them in front of my students. They need to see that I am human. That mistakes are how we learn. It is not ‘wrong’, it is not ‘uncommon’. It is a normal part of our learning cycle.
Image source: https://www.tofugu.com/japan/jet-program-alt-team-teaching-tips/
In an international education example, Japanese school children are often expected to work out a problem in front of the class for a period of time. If the student is wrong, there is no shame, because a positive culture has been created and is normal. Mistakes are an indication of what still needs to be learned, not of failure.
With both teachers and students, I make mistakes, sometimes even on purpose just to get my point across. I start a discussion about learning, more ‘real’ than any other learning experience I offer. We talk about the mistake I made, why I made it and what I need to do to ensure that I don’t make that mistake again. In simple form, I am teaching them how to learn. I am teaching them that mistakes happen. I am teaching them to deal with their mistakes with a positive mindset.
When I was fresh to education, straight out of my teacher training college it was drummed into me that I was the leader in the classroom and that meant that I was the sole source of knowledge – I was the role model that needs to show the way. I couldn’t be seen to be making mistakes – what would that show my students and their parents? Presumably it would show them that I was incapable of doing my job effectively ….
They were wrong!
I no longer believe it is acceptable to hide mistakes. I believe that mistakes is where learning begins and I tell my students and teachers that I work with this! They know that mistakes happen and EVERYONE makes them. You can whinge about it, have a cry, complain, cover it up but all that does is put it away to resurface at a later date. The only way to learn from a mistake is to hold it up high, put it on a pedestal, understand that it wasn’t correct but if you work hard to fix it, it won’t happen again.
Image source: https://www.megapixl.com/child-s-hand-erasing-with-pencil-on-notebook-paper-stock-photo-37683304
If you take one thing from this post I hope that it is, mistakes are OK as long as you embrace them with a positive change making mindset.
Change your interactions with your students and colleagues by standing up and identifying mistakes and turning them into opportunities to learn …
I make mistakes so I can learn! That is my mindset!
I would love to hear your stories of change, your stories of culture and your stories of making mistakes. Feel free to share below or via twitter.