Walk through the hallways of any high school campus, and you will most likely hear the same refrain from the students: “I literally just failed that test” or “I totally just bombed that project.” Now, often the reality is quite different as students tend to be very hard on themselves. In most cases, the students have done fairly well, though if they are seeking perfection, they may have missed that mark. Winston Churchill once remarked that “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” It does not matter whether we are perfect or if we have room to grow, we must keep moving forward. When we fail, it is when we have the most opportunity to learn. We become humble and teachable in those moments, and isn’t that what school is all about?
Realistically all of the knowledge is out there. We could sit in a library for years and study and research, but we wouldn’t necessarily know where to go or how to give it all context. We need teachers to guide our learning and to give it meaning. We need someone to pick us up when we fall a little bit and to help motivate us to do a little better each and every time. It is easy to see defeat and give up, but it takes courage to recognize defeat and move forward taking what you have learned with you.
One of the great things about Fairmont Prep is that students can try new things and explore without fear. These are teenage high school students who still need our support. Yes, we need to let them try and let them fail, but we support them and help pick them up when they fall. Our teachers are wonderful at that, in keeping communication with families to ensure that we find the best way to help a student at every step. Allowing students to make a misstep is essential in their development. We cannot, and should not, rush to solve every problem that a student may encounter. Trust that we have given them the tools to solve some of their problems. Of course, we should still be there to guide, but we want our students to be able to advocate for themselves.
Failure is merely an opportunity to learn about something that doesn’t work.