”fail with me”

-a name for a school-

Feil…ooops fail with me and just listen then, if you want read while you listen.

I’ve read somewhere once: “a winner is a loser that never gave up”.

I kind of agree with that, in language learning , one of my favourite topics, a winner is the one who is able to succeed.

I don’t really like the metaphor of you know, winning…loosing but in my opinion succeeding is not difficult. Embracing the idea of failing is.

Because you know, failing is an option.
This reminds me about some years ago when I was looking for a name to give to a possible school. Yes, I admit it, there was a time when I thought I wanted to have my own school.
And I needed a name.

I had quite a few ideas and some of them were decent but none of them was convincing.
I had a vision, I had a concept, I just couldn’t find the right name.
So, I remember, I sat down and gathered my thoughts.

I said:
”ok, so, I always try to create a stress free environment, a place where not to feel judged , where mistakes happen…they are due to happen. You know, when speaking a new language we are bound to failure so I always think of a place where mistakes are cheered and cherished”.

So at that time I thought I got the hang of it and started to come up with names such as ”failure arena” or ”the mistake museum” or ”faculty of errors” but they all sounded plain wrong.

The fact was that students did not like the idea of being a failure.

That is where the concept of the safety net came about.

You know I had this vision of learners as trapeze artists, pushing their limits to the boundary of comfort zone, idling on the edge before taking the leap and inevitably being reminded of gravity down to the ground yet once more till the day they grab the bar in a firm, confident grip never to let go…..

Ok, enough with the poetry, I cut it here but anyways, ”safety net academy” sounded wrong too.

Flash-forward a few years and eventually I was lucky I could ”open” an online school.

This time I settled for the road metaphor

I looked back at what I had done and were I got to and the only thing I could relate to was the distance I had covered, the wrong turns, the places yet to go.
I cannot help but thinking of mistakes as travelling companions. You meet them out of the blue, you stick together, they become your favourite mistakes, you learn to accept them, welcome them, play with them, get to know them and even invite them for tea but then comes a time to part, to to let them go and make room for many more to come. Just move on, get back on the road and enjoy the ride.

Let me now leave you with three main pieces of advice

  • let yourself fail massively and shamelessly
  • enjoy ”fanta english”
  • embrace your mistakes

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