Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Teach, Speak, Blog.

In my year of student teaching at Morse High School, I learned a valuable lesson:

I am capable of failure.

I am not so full of myself that I believe I am perfect-- I made plenty of mistakes this year and I struggled to hone my craft as a science instructor. In the end, I also made it work by the time it really counted and I gained confidence in my skills as a professional educator.

This confidence was severely tested when I found out that I did not pass PACT, that terror of all assessment portfolios. To make things even more stressful, I had a month to re-do the whole thing. How was I going to pull my students together when it had reached the point of the year in which the spring could begin to untighten now that CST testing was over? Was I meant to be a teacher if I could not pass this important task in my professional trajectory?

I had never failed at something that I worked hard at before. I believed that hard work would be enough. My first reactions were to mope, curse the universe, and ask "Why me?" Ten minutes later, I knew it was time to get to work.

Over the next week, I designed a new teaching segment, implemented it, and reflected. To my ecstatic joy, I passed the second attempt and shared my story with my students. My peers, supervisors, and students were impressed with the finesse that I demonstrated in this process. I was proud of myself for picking myself up again, dusting off the remnants of my old PACT, and making something new that turned out to be the lesson that my students enjoyed the most all year.

Sometimes you will fail. Keep calm and pretend it's on the lesson plan. What you create the second time around will be better as long as you stay reflective, mindful, and positive. (Having an obsessive relationship with the rubric works, too.)


  1. I'm so impressed with your perseverance and hard work, Annie. I think that's probably one of the most valuable pieces of advice you could pass on to others and to me, too. This is something that I also struggled with this year. Failure, of course, is not something that any of us want to experience, but I think that I learned the most from the days that totally failed from my perspective, days that I cried, days that I had to rework a lesson plan between first and third, and days that I felt like I did something (or many things) wrong. Now you know you CAN do anything! Congrats. :)

  2. Annie, you are incredible. I love your determination and perseverance when you had to do PACT all over. I know you were stressed with doing the whole process a second time, but I knew you could do it.
    I know it was tough since it was the end of the year, and it's harder to get kids to pay attention and do what you want. I'm so proud of you and your students for getting through PACT a second time. Great job, I know all your hard work was worth it. I'm glad you can look back on this and see it as a growing/learning experience.

  3. Hi Annie,

    Thanks for sharing your story/advice. I think we all expect perfection from ourselves as teachers and to make mistakes can seem like the end of the world. It was nice to see how you took what could have been a deal breaker and made it into an opportunity to work hard and prove your worth as the amazing teacher I'm sure you are. It sounds like you came out stronger and more resilient because of it. I too have experienced defeat and failure over the course of this program. I will try to remember your advice in my inevitable future failed endeavors. As teachers we are continually growing, with reflection as are best friend in the process! :)

    -Ali Kayatta

  4. Annie, I know what you went through. Boo PACT.

    But, look where we are now. We've just about made it, bro. We just need to keep going, keep staying positive, and just have faith in our own abilities - something my supervisor said I need to work on myself.

    We're all capable of failure, just as we are all capable of success.


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