Failure is Okay
By Kayla Zinsmeyer
Growing up, we are often presented with the idea that failure is simply not an option. In elementary school, if you didn’t finish your project you probably ‘failed’. Of course, that only applied to the grade on your report card, even if you learned more than anyone else in the class. In fact, this rule applies to most of our classes, even throughout middle school.
However, in eighth grade PLTW, Ms. Sauter is teaching us by a different ruleset. From the first day of class, until the maker project, which is arguably one of the most important projects in the entire course, we have been told to embrace failure. On our very first module, when my group couldn’t get our speaker to function, we still got a very high grade, even though our speaker didn’t actually do anything, simply because we followed the design process. And recently, when we built a 3d topographic map, even though we never actually built the map, we only got a few points off, because we learned a new program on our own, put in extra hours to try to finish, and just worked hard in general. The maker project doesn’t even require you finish, as long as you can prove your process.
By teaching us this way, Ms. Sauter prepares us for what the real world is actually like. Professional engineers know that a new design isn’t going to be perfect the first time, but that it will provide a stepping-stone to the end product. By failing at first, you can use what you have learned through your mistakes to make your finished product even better. Failure is when you haven’t learned anything, not when you make a mistake