Look at me, I wrote this last night (Thursday) and set up to post it today!


I’m watching a continual stream of these types of videos to keep my head above water right now. This class as given us a barrage of discouraging news. There are such good kids in this class: they write, sing, play, act, and do so many things well. But they are shouted down by the negative in the class.


So, I’ve found a couple of good channels on YouTube to keep my spirits up as we move closer to the end of the year. We’ll show this one in class tomorrow and maybe write about it because it talks about a couple of things close to my heart:

  1. You cannot succeed without failure. If you never fail, you’ve not pushed yourself hard enough. My point guard who cried, that next weekend, she led our team to a win over the same team we’d lost to the previous week. Sure, she was upset, she had an off night, but that failure pushed her towards the success she found playing that team again. I hope she (and her teammates if she wants to share it) rereads that post again, and remembers moving into high school that she will be pushed, she will have off nights, and she will fail. What she learns from that failure will demonstrate her true character.
  2. You have to have a passion going forward into life. My students, I just don’t know where their passions lie. “I hate…..,” fills so many of their statements, but I don’t hear, “Boy, I love ……” I preach how, even as 8th graders, they have to find that reason to get up, get to school, and graduate.
  3. Where they come from, family, community, all of it, does not make a bit of difference in what they make themselves. They cannot complain about how they don’t have X,Y, or Z or they weren’t given X,Y, or Z or how it’s not fair their friends have X, Y, or Z. Nope, the responsibility for your own success or failure lies with you. If you fail, then look at yourself and ask those tough questions: Why did I fail? What can I learn from it? How can I get better?

So, as you move forward in the march toward summer, what will you tell your students? Will you talk about how they have to keep practicing, keep trying, keep pushing forward in the summer? Will you tell them that they ultimately are the ones who control their own destiny? Will you tell them that need to find that passion that will wake them up at night, driving them crazy with how they can make it happen? Will you tell them they need to fail to succeed?

Or will you wish them a happy summer and move on your way?

My students don’t always like me very much. I push their thinking, I push them to write it down, to make it visible in front of them so they don’t forget, I push to cause the uncomfortable feeling of “damn, Mr. J’s preaching again, and he’s making me think!” They are pushed, because to me, their failure is not an option. I will plant that seed, and like creeping charlie, it will spread into the fabric of their soul, that they will not fail if they keep trying!

So, what are you willing to do, even if you fail? 🙂