Permission to fail and a lesson in how to succeed.


For the past week or two my students have been busily building robots in their French class. I have been eagerly anticipating the completion of their robots as I have created a math unit to connect with our shape and space section of the grade 4 math curriculum.

I was told today would be the day they would be ready. So when I got into my classroom after lunch excited to get our math unit underway I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I quickly popped out and asked the French teacher if they could finish them in class with me. With the green light I said to my students ‘Gather your stuff. Time to finish your robots’.

My class eagerly got everything together and as things got underway they asked me to plug-in the hot glue gun. They patiently waited for the glue to heat up and I wondered why they weren’t glueing away. I asked them if they knew how to use it. They answered they did because they had seen it being used but weren’t given the opportunity to use it themselves but instead just gave instructions what to glue where. I got up demonstrated how to use it (just in case a few hadn’t paid close attention to the process before) and showed them the proper way to use it.

Once the demonstration was over I said ‘Go ahead glue your stuff on. You will quickly learn how to use the glue gun and avoid getting your fingers burned. Don’t worry try it out. I’ll be here if you need help.’

Stunned they looked at me and asked if I was sure.

When they saw I was dead serious and would be right there for the first little bit the first few started glueing away.

Of course a few had to try out how hot the glue was. But once they realized it really wasn’t that fascinating they focused on perfecting their creations.

No one failed. All succeeded.

Sometimes all you need is permission to fail in order to succeed. It takes trust on both sides, a bit of space and a net to catch you if you fall.

-Sidenote: I am happy to have robots for tomorrows math class. Let the math madness begin! –


2 thoughts on “Permission to fail and a lesson in how to succeed.

  1. Pingback: Brush Air | whitehothair

  2. I love this post! There are so many times that I’ve gone into classrooms for substitute teaching and have been surprised by the lack of opportunities students are given. Students are asked to all create the same project (resulting in 30 projects that are absolutely identical in design), students are not allowed to use certain mediums, or not allowed to do specific tasks on their own. I love that you guided your students through the task and allowed them to learn proper use on their own as opposed to doing it all for them 🙂

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