Failing on an Island

Failing on an Island

Failure in education is a pretty common topic. Whether it’s a negative connotation: failing schools, failing kids, or a positive connotation: First Attempt In Learning, failing forward, it’s hard to go a day without the topic coming up.

I want to bring you another facet of failure. Failing within a community vs lonely failure; failure on an island.

If you’ve ever felt alone in your classroom, your district, your career, failure can be isolating. Failure on an island, failure without supportive friends and colleagues, is draining. It’s stagnant.

Failure with a community, however, is invigorating. It’s no longer failure, it’s problem solving. With a strong community, or network, failure no longer isolates, but provides opportunities for growth and change and innovation. We can learn with and from the members of our community, using the strengths of the community to make our work better.

This concept of failing in a community applies across groups. Students who work collaboratively learn from each other. Colleagues who collaborate push each other. Leaders in supportive communities embrace failure as an opportunity for growth. You don’t have a community in your area? Consider this reason #832 that you should be a connected learner. A strong online network can be just as supportive as a physical community, and will often provide you with more diverse perspectives and areas of expertise.

Don’t fail on an island. Find a community. Build a community. Fail with others. This is where true growth, learning, and innovation are found.


Cross-posted from