Mr Kemp NZ

I make mistakes and I am proud to share it!

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. 


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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. 


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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.

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Global EdTech Consultant based in Singapore but working with Schools and EdTech companies all over the world. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hello.
    I was just wondering whether you could give me some top tips for the top ten most used apps in education?I have just taken over ICT co ordinator and want to hit the ground running! Any help would be appreciated!

    • Hi Livvy – I am not a big fan of apps for the sake of apps. However, given a context I would love to share my favorites ….
      Let’s chat! Connect with me on twitter @mrkempnz and DM me (or alternatively contact me through my website contact me page).

  • Yes MISTAKES are the way we can focus our next learning. The power of ‘yet’… you have not got it yet.. Thanks I don’t know how you find time to write a blog post. My class go into the pit of learning to struggle and be confused. I make mistakes and they help me out of the pit!

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