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What Does It Mean to Fail

Tonight, I stumbled into this shared post. And I remember thinking the same way when I was a bit younger. It’s like failure is a name tag attached to you once you fail. But who doesn’t fail? Everyone does. As my father always says, “People fail because people fail.” We are imperfect creatures. (Tho this is not an excuse to always fail.)

The huge part of my life where I was so conscious of failing is when I was in college. It was a crucial time for me to prove myself especially I was taking up Education. Teachers ought to be excellent. (But that doesn’t end there.)

When I was in college, I enjoyed being recognized in class for doing a great job on my subjects. Well, I really did study that time but due to some reasons, I still failed a subject and it’s one of my favorites that was related to reading. I was so frustrated with myself. And yes, it’s like there was a resounding voice calling me a failure! And another yes, I cried for some time. Good thing, I still continued my journey to be a teacher because I realized many things when I was already in the teaching field.

What are my realizations?

  1. Failing humbles people. Knowing my capabilities and talents, I can be boastful at times. I remember being engaged with too many debates before (tho sometimes, it’s for learning purposes) and ended up with so many enemies just because I always thought I was right. When I became a teacher, it has always been my starting point to never boast my achievements but always put a story of hope and humility in my failings.
  2. Failing is a mean to connect. When I was already teaching, the most challenging subject I taught was Philosophy. Most of my students have no idea or interest in Philosophy. On my first day of class, most of them dismissed the idea that it would be fun and they always assume it’s boring. And due to this kind of mindset, many of them had difficulty to pass my class. There, it reminded me of my failing subject. And this didn’t remind me of the pain but the reason. So I tried to reach out to my students and see their difficulties in the subject and even at home. This was how I knew and understood my students more. And that’s how I also realized that being a teacher isn’t just about knowledge and passion. It is also about love and compassion towards your students.
  3. Failing bridges us to change. If something didn’t work out, something has to be done — change. I remember giving my students too many reading assignments and essays for Philosophy. (Well, that’s really the traditional and best way to assess them.) And I found myself stressed with a two-sentence paragraph with nothing related to the readings I sent them, or having caught them sleeping in my actual class! There, I knew something has to be done. Failing challenged me. For a change, I remember using “hugot” lines to many of my activities to help them see through objects which landed on the ‘Philosophy of Things’. We also did some role plays, storytelling and games in my class to make it fun and easy to learn. Failing makes us innovative and creative, I must say.
  4. Failing is not a label, it’s an experience. People are easy to call people or themselves a ‘failure’. No, you are not. Failings happen and what we need to do is to change our perspective towards it. I believe we cannot just move forward after falling. It would take us some time to think and acknowledge our feelings and that’s totally fine. But you don’t have to be stocked there. After failing, reflect and see if there’s something else that you can do to make it better then see it as something that you can learn from. Sometimes, it’s a matter of how we see things. Remember, your failings don’t define you. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.

And at times that I still hear that resounding voice calling me a ‘failure’, I read something from the scriptures.

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