Sunday, March 5, 2017

On Failing Greatly - Slice of Life Day 5

Naming your blog: the first thing you have to do to sign up for this challenge. You have to have a name. And then you have to explain your name. Today is my "Naming Story."

I'm sure there are a good portion of us out in the blogger verse who have had trouble naming our blog. I couldn't decide how much information I wanted to divulge - I want some degree of anonymity. And yet, I want the name to represent some aspect of me. I don't have a name that works with some sort of writing or thinking pun, so that was out. I have sort of a dark sense of humor, so some of my personal ideas were obscure or subversive and I didn't feel like sharing that with other teachers (sorry, friends!).

My first idea: "Decision Fatigue" (OMG I just realized this is like naming a band!). I recently read an article someone posted on Facebook about why teachers are so tired. One of the main reasons is "decision fatigue," which struck a chord with me. I am SUPER TIRED every day! So I thought that might be appropriate.

Another idea: “Less Inspiration, more perspiration.” This was something I said in regards to a training I went to one day. I’m not sure if this is everyone’s experience, but my personal opinion is that teachers need time to work, collaborate, professionally develop in their area of choice, and be treated like professionals. Too often, I will go to a training and it will be about pumping us up, boosting morale, being “awesome”. And while that can be fun and entertaining, sometimes it feels like the hard work never gets done.

Two disclaimers:
  1. Please don’t be offended if you thrive on these types of speakers,TED Talks, etc - I can appreciate them, but I just have had to sit through a lot of them, while other things are falling by the wayside. I am a career-switcher to teaching, and experience in private sector seems to make a big difference when it comes to these things. (I will say - I will watch any KID PRESIDENT video put in front of me. Love him!)
  2. You need to know the context of my personality - I am very serious about work. I went to one party in college (and it was a music sorority!). I practiced singing 3 hours a day because I wanted to be a professional opera singer (overkill - I damaged my voice in grad school). I am a very focused person to the point where it can be a character flaw.  

Then, one night, I came across a quote by Robert F. Kennedy. I have been fanatic of RFK for most of my life. I mean, I have TAPESTRIES with his image. I have campaign buttons. I donate to the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. I have an 8x10 framed picture of him on my bookshelf. I have all of his books (read them, they are great!).

Anyway, I started reading some of his old speeches, and I was struck at the difference in rhetoric today. I mean, today, we are dealing with a citizenry who believe a very limited vocabulary is OK. Contrast it with this from RFK’s 1966 speech in South Africa:

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

It’s beautiful. It’s poetry. RFK would quote Shakespeare, not Breitbart! Imagine…

In any case, when I came across this quote: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly,” (from the speech listed above), I had an epiphany: This is what I was doing. This is what teachers do every day. This is what we try to get our students to accept. We have to go beyond our comfort zone in life. We have to be willing to fall flat on our face blogging (in my case)!

I have failed so many times in life, and I need to embrace it. Let’s stop feeling bad about being negative - failure is part of growing. It’s what you do after the failure that matters. It’s the perseverance that allows you to get closer to achievement.

I settled upon the title “Failing Greatly”, and I felt pretty good about it. I set up my blog, I signed up for the SOL, I was set.

Then, I hit a wall.

I couldn’t access my blog. I kept typing in the title and getting a message that I didn’t have permission to view my own blog. I was confused.

And then, I realized….

I typed the title wrong. I used only one “g”. My blog is “failingreatly” with only one g! A typo! A mistake! I failed and I was stuck because I already submitted my info to the SOL moderators!


What could possibly be a more perfect example of “failing greatly” than naming my blog with the WRONG name? Lesson learned.


  1. I'm glad I read how you arrived at the name of your blog. It stands for so much more than a glance can tell. I agree that we must continue even in failure. You don't grow and learn from familiarity.

  2. I love the name of your blog, and I totally appreciated hearing the line of thinking you went through to name it. It's a great name.

  3. I love both the title and the "fail" that came with it. My sister's birth certificate lists her name as "Patrica" not "Patricia." Mistakes happen!

  4. I love this story. And you could make the fail that came with it into a TED talk. (Sorry, that was a little spicy, we might have some of the same feelings about such things. I Love in small doses...small being the keyword.) Thanks for sharing.