I saw an image on Twitter: that to fail means the First Attempt In Learning. I’m not so sure about that. What if its the second, or 3rd or 4th. This guy failed 40 times before he succeeded. What if learning is a continuous habit, and fitting with Prochaska and DiClemente, failing is an important part of the cyclical process. And if you get it right first time, and stop to bask in your satisfaction, maybe you then miss everything else that there is to learn. How to make things even better.

I’m no longer a fail-virgin. This year I received my first official fail, as judged by someone in authority to me, someone wiser, and in a leadership position. It was my first because of all the formal learning assessments I’ve undertaken, never before have received an F.

So why do I feel like I’m winning? wow, I hear that too: arrogance, ignorance, delusion. Or maybe determination, with a strong desire to ask out loud – do you realise how much I have learnt doing this module? did you notice the effort? my complete engagement and enthusiasm? are you aware of my work project which has been directly influenced by studying this? so much has happened and been learnt, and I’ve challenged myself and challenged practice and applied reaching ideas into my own. But still, in your summative assessment of my learning, I failed.

As beautifully demonstrated here by Steve Wheeler. My assessment wasn’t for learning, it was of learning. The method didn’t pick up what I truly learnt. At the same time I agree my 1st submission wasn’t good.

You never asked any questions. And then you left. Are we to be that removed from each other? you don’t know my name in the street, yet we were a group of 15.

When I spoke to another of our 15 whom I admire, and discovered we had this failure in common, her devastation was visible. She had felt so rubbish about herself. She hadn’t been for a tutorial and I discouraged her from going, sharing that I’m not keen on situations (especially one-to-ones) about my own development where I leave feeling stupid/insignificant (insert any word that reminds you of the last time speaking with someone was liking being spoken at and your neck hurt from looking up).
As someone said to me recently, “I save my limbic responses and resilience for the stuff it’s meant for, like bereavement”. I was expecting my own devastation and tears in this new territory of F, but they never came. So we coached each other. Getting the pass is a matter of course.
Us millennials do it chumbawumba-style (sorry couldn’t help it!).

I’m writing realising blogging is a process for learning, not of learning. I know why I failed this year and I haven’t before. It’s because I’m ok with it. I don’t need to be your yes-person anymore. I don’t need your permission to be. (cue Rita Ora).

Then this week when I’m investigating plagiarism by a remarkable, nay exceptional person. I do everything within my capacity to speak with and not let my body betray me by showing my true and present disappointment. Because its not about me. And reflecting on a blog I read about being fair and doing what’s right, and how sometimes they clash, and the balance is hard: I make sure I ask questions to understand the full picture, and identify needs. I promise myself to always seek to see. I ask what they need, because I wasn’t asked, and I review the assessment: was it of, or for, and does it fit?
And I realise I ‘love supporting the growth of others more than I love myself’…….so I’m following Liz’s advice: I’m going home

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