However, when I pause to reflect, I realise that there's MUCH more to teaching and learning than success, regardless of how alluring and intoxicating it seems. When I'm truly honest with myself as a learner and a teacher, I have to admit that I learn far more from my mistakes and failures than from what goes right and is successful. Why?
When I succeed, I tend to be self-satisfied, to stop stretching, to stop trying new things, to stop moving forwards. ("If it ain't broke, don't fix it!") However, when I fail, or at least trip up, I have to work out why, I have to experiment with other ways of doing, I have to challenge myself, and even study, read, confer and reconstruct my knowledge in order to overcome my shortcomings. Equally, my students need to do so as well.
I understand if you say that failure hurts and mistakes are embarrassing. You are correct. But what worries me most, is when I catch myself just settling for safe ground, not ruffling any feathers (including my own), not thinking from day to day, and considering that such a state is satisfactory, even preferable to the alternatives.
So, I have made it my goal to look freshly at my patterns of behaviour, whether successful or not, and use all of them as starting points for development, rather than end-points of self-satisfaction.
Are you trying hard enough? Are you making mistakes? I hope you might at least think about it.
First posted in Amazon discussion here: http://amzn.to/GO7tZR