Your best teacher is your last mistake.

— Prince Ea

How many times have you done something silly, or something that didn’t turn out right, and you vowed never to do that again?

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How many times have you repeated the same mistake?

Sometimes we learn from our mistakes, and sometimes we just keep repeating the same mistake again and again. Well, I know I do.

So, that gets me wondering — is our best teacher really our last mistake?

What makes a good teacher?

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard someone say, ‘Oh, that teacher taught me (my child) nothing,’ then I might be able to retire, or at least go on a holiday.

A bad teacher can certainly hinder your learning. But does a good teacher necessarily guarantee that you will learn?

I would say, emphatically, NO!

A good teacher can put everything in place to create optimal learning opportunities, but ultimately it is down to the student whether or not those opportunities are taken.

Nobody can make you learn.

There are all sorts of factors at play when it comes to learning:

♦ your mindset (this includes whether you are interested in learning, or think you will benefit, or it may have something to do with your peer group)

♦ your relationship with the teacher (if you like the teacher, you are more likely to engage in their lessons … this does not mean that you will learn, but I think it helps)

♦ your background (this includes prior experiences, good or bad, and even just the morning you had before you stepped into the classroom).

This does not mean teachers are off the hook.

The reason most people go into teaching is because we want to make a difference. The buzz we get from seeing our students progress is amazing, but we have to put a lot of work into this. If we don’t do the preparation, get to know our students and what makes them ‘bubble’, or have the motivation ourselves to be life-long learners — then we shouldn’t be in the game.

Going back to the original quote: sometimes we do not learn from our mistakes.

This is not because the ‘mistake’ was not a good enough teacher, but because we lacked the motivation to analyse the mistake and make the changes we needed in order to improve next time.

‘Learning’ is a complex beast.

But, I truly believe that we ourselves are the key to learning.

If the individual does not put in the effort, then the individual will not learn.


2 thoughts on “learning

  1. I agree with the statement that ‘Learning is a complex beast’. For me, ‘learning’ is lifelong and fluid, forever washing over me, challenging me to think and try to absorb complex issues. Learning is constantly hovering around me. It just won’t leave me alone! Regarding the comparing of ‘Teaching’ and ‘Learning’ I believe that while good teaching ‘opens the door’ to endless wondering, it is up to the individual to accept responsibility for internalising concepts – ‘The buck stops with ME!!!!!!’ How easy it is for us to blame people and different circumstances for our making mistake, after mistake, after mistake. How bitter we can become about life when things don’t go the way we want them!
    In my opinion Learning is a very complex and often intimidating beast that we have to face up to and glean what we can to make us better people. Another quote comes to mind:
    Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love that last quote Janet. How true is it, but how sad is it that so many people (myself included in the past) see failure as a sign to give up. You would have seen the brilliant (photoshopped) picture of a frog being swallowed by a bird. The frog is halfway down the bird’s throat, but has it’s front legs out and wrapped around the bird’s throat. The caption is ‘Never give up!’ I had that on my classroom wall for years.


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