Friday, May 6, 2011

Failure does hurt. It just isn't the end.

Hello students and blog readers - I'm going to write something here, and it's tough but I especially want my students to know that I really mean what I say. Blog readers, you can listen in on the conversation but this is primarily written to my students. I tell them all the time that failure can be the best thing because you can learn so much. I cheer when they put tons of effort into a model that doesn't work, since then they pick up and try again. I remember things the most when they have thwarted me over and over before I get it.

Students, our team was just turned down for the next step in the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grant cycle. We spent dozens of hours of creative and thoughtful work to document our potential invention and plan, and I have the highest respect for the teams ultimately chosen by MIT. Students, I am so proud of you, you have come so far in just one year. I'm sure we'll still try to prototype our invention through other funding or grants.

This is the real world - yes, I'm fantastically disappointed but also not crushed - if I add up all the times I "succeed" versus "fail" I'm sure the fails would far outpace the wins. I writing this so you know that how we handle the losses is so key, so clutch - and when it comes down to it even though I'm your teacher I'm still learning, just like you.

Here's to you - great work, and I'm looking forward to next year's application.


  1. Yeah! We still got next year!! We get a whole year to brainstorm inventions...

    high fives all around to our awesome engineering class and teacher!

  2. *high five* This will give us plenty of time to work on our application and to pin down an invention!! :)

  3. Mary, I have no idea what you guys were working on, but I thought your words were inspiring! Thanks. :) Angela

  4. ...oh, that and I really like the sad stick figure girl.


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