Vulnerability…and Mistakes…and Failure.

Previously when I thought of the attributes that define a good educator, many different words came to mind, such as ‘intelligent’, ‘dedicated’, and ‘caring’.  But over the past few years, one characteristic in particular has become the first word I think of when I envision the-best-of-the-best educators.  That word is ‘vulnerable’.

In my experiences over the past several years as a Principal in North Carolina and Washington state, I have had numerous occasions where showing vulnerability has opened doors that otherwise would not have been opened to me.  One example in particular where I’ve grown comfortable showing vulnerability is when it comes to ‘failing forward’ (thanks @brendanfetters for introducing me to that mantra!)  I’m now very transparent about letting people around me know that I’m okay with showing my failure and mistakes.  This includes showing both adults AND children.  Because regardless of whether it’s a child or an adult, when I show the courage to be vulnerable, they understand through my actions that it’s okay for them to show vulnerability.  And when children and adults are unchained from the fear of failure, or fear of mistakes, and they feel free to show vulnerability, that’s when the most grand, amazing ideas are allowed to grow.

No matter what your role in education may be, it is my belief that showing vulnerability is crucial in this field.  It’s not something we ought to do, it’s something we must do.  Without vulnerability, we will never realize our potential or the true potential of those we serve.  But with it, we can do anything we set our mind to!

I welcome your thoughts and feedback!