May 23, 2016
My son Eli had a baseball tournament this past weekend. The kid loves baseball so much. He’s 9, yet he already has created this amazing capacity of baseball information for himself. It’s safe to say that Eli has a working knowledge of every team in Major League Baseball. His passion for playing baseball is evident because of not only how hard he practices, but also how hard he is on himself when he doesn’t perform as well as he thinks he should; particularly when he’s up to bat and strikes out.
One particular instance of this over the weekend really struck me. Eli was up to bat, and struck out. As he turned to return back to the dugout, Eli lowered his helmet down over his eyes as the tears started to flow. It’s not the first time that has happened so I did what any supportive dad would do in this situation and I ran out on the field and I scooped him up and hugged him. Just kidding, I didn’t really do that (but I wanted to). 🙂
I did, however, make sure Eli could hear me and I told him he’s awesome and he’ll get it next time. What happened next though I wasn’t expecting:
I love everything about this picture. I mean, if you’re going to strike out, at least you have a great team that’s there for you even when you don’t perform like you thought you should. Would I have loved to see Eli blast that ball? Of course I would have. I like to think in this instance Eli learned something that a home run wouldn’t have taught him. That’s my hope as I look at this picture over and over and smile.
Today is the last day of school for my kids. They had a great year; they loved their teachers, and they love their school. So, naturally I had to think about how this all relates to education. 🙂
No, WTF doesn’t mean what you think it means. We need to have a Willingness To Fail. Our students need that transparency from us, teachers need that transparency from leadership, and it needs to be the norm. It needs to be accepted and embraced that failure is going to happen and not have it seen as an end point, but a jumping off point. Think of where it’s going to go from here rather than let it keep you from going anywhere at all.
I think it’s safe to say we all want our students to be excited about going to school. My son loves school but he’s not as excited about it as he is about baseball. He certainly doesn’t get as upset about when he doesn’t perform well at school compared to striking out in a baseball game. I think if we want our students to be as excited/passionate about school as they are about things outside of school, they need to see us just as excited about learning. Our students need to know about that edcamp, Google Summit, or other learning experience that got us fired up. They need to know what you’re doing to be a better teacher and keep moving yourself forward because they’re the ultimate reason we’re doing it. It means creating a culture and practice of being infectious in our schools.
Teams Are Everything
Knowing you have a great team that is going to support you, success or not, is a comfort that we need as professionals and our students need it in our classrooms too. The need for team support isn’t limited to athletics; students need to feel what good collaboration, team work, and camaraderie looks like and feels like as it relates to learning too. Again, students need to see this modeled at all levels in a district or school. We are always better together than we are apart.
Striking out isn’t always bad. It can give us some important reminders of how to be better learners and how to be better people.