There are many moments throughout a person’s life when failure arises and often at the moments it is least expected. I can clearly remember a time in elementary school when I simply couldn’t master the art of covertly making a record breaking paper airplane. Try as I might my efforts were normally discovered before the full plan could come to fruition or some part of the design ended flights prematurely. One day the skies parted and our teacher embraced the aeronautical passion her students and built a contest into school. I was determined that this moment was mine to shine and set to work upgrading my plans and innovating my previous covert concepts. Finally, it was time to test the final design out on the playground. It was a clear sunny day with a crisp spring breeze when I step to the launch line. I practiced my form and let my masterpiece fly… After roughly 5 feet my plane plunged to the right and crashed alongside my hopes.
After a moment to mourn my loss, the following one saw a light bulb moment come fully into focus. I needed something in my design to help the plane stay straight and true. I chose to fold up the tips of the wings to help cut through the wind and stay straight. I stepped to the line a second time with pride and no remnants of the past failed attempt. The flight was underway with a carefully practiced toss and the “SS Stealth” glided incredibly above the blacktop finally coming to rest many feet passed the furthest flight of my classmates. I had no idea at the time that this was a growth mindset nor that my teacher had thought outside of the box to help us master concepts through creativity and creation versus textbooks and worksheets. Helping your students to believe in themselves and accept failure as a stepping stone to greatness is incredibly powerful.
I wish I could have thanked her more at the time. However, now is as good a time as ever. Throughout my scholastic career as well as my professional one I have learned many things and failed in many ways. Remembering instances such as the SS Stealth have helped me in many of those cases to persevere with innovation leading to success. I call upon fellow educators, administrators, and professionals to celebrate not only these moments for their students but also to reflect on their own experiences. Using the hashtag #inspiredcreativity, help me to share the moments with the entire world when failure lit the spark of imagination to create the amazing.
Patrick B. Hausammann, M.S. Ed.
Emerging perpetual optimist, uncle, and #lifelonglearner… @GoogleforEducation Certified Trainer (#GoogleET), @Google Certified Admin, teacher, & ed. tech. Professional.