Laboratory for Failure

Only with an opportunity to fail do students truly have an opportunity to succeed. I fear that too many parents and teachers have insulated my students from reaping the consequences of their shortcomings, thereby also limiting their potential to flourish. Not in my class.

As my student, you will have ample opportunity to excel – and to fall flat on your face. I will assess you on the basis of the merits of your work. This is your future. It begins now. And if not now, when? Without the chance to sink or swim in this lifeguarded pool of a university, what will you do when your ship inevitably sinks in the open sea? (And all of ours do, at one point or another.)

Should you, in print or in public presentation, produce work of genuine genius, it will be recognized as such. On the other hand, should your work fall short, I will clearly tell you how and to what extent. (Don’t worry; I will do so via email, not in front of your peers.)

No one likes to be wrong. I get it. But a take-home, open book exam is not a test in the true sense of the word. I deserve to find out just how right you can be. And so do you.

What you need is not always what you want.  What is best is not always what is easy. You need the freedom to fail. Only then is true success an option.

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