Guest Post via @ReadersLeadPD: Warning: Failure, Sports True Learning

Warning:  I never successfully made cheerleading in High School.  I did play golf, joined the ski club and Mock Trial team, graduated successfully, went to college out-of-state. Now, I am an Arizona Master Teacher.  

I know that drawing upon my experiences as an athlete every single day when instructing students and staffers is vital.  Therefore, one can conclude, sports play a crucial role in our classroom and professional development sessions.

Think about your greatest success. You didn’t get there overnight. You failed many times along the way. Sport teaches us you fail, then succeed.  My recent end of the academic term classroom evaluation took place.   My evaluator commented prior to his exit, “you really are into sports.” He went on to point out the reference of local sports slogans and growth mindset phrases.  Sports in education is a lifestyle and mindset any educators automatically (upon being solicited for feedback) replies i.e., “I like the way you… Great job using … Next time try the strategy….”

In college, for my first degree in social justice, I enrolled in a course titled, “Sports & Society.” The professor taught that, no matter your political affiliation, your religion, your view of democracy, or your basic belief in the American dream, sport is safe to discuss. In sports is there is a winner and loser.  The point of sports involves keeping going when we fail.

Now I wonder as a teacher, do we allow students to struggle enough or are we too quick to guarantee success? Working in my PLC, we share successful data.  We create FAME walls and rush to move students from F to E.  What if the PLC took time to discuss how students are overcoming adversity when faced with something real?  Kids will try because it matters to them. Kids will try because it’s important.


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