Failures and Successes

October 4, 2021 1 By Allison Preble

Today, I had a failure. I had the opportunity to articulate my study’s goals, and it didn’t go well. I felt out of control and uncomfortable with speaking on the spot in a situation. It was similar to how I feel in class discussions or when a teacher cold calls me. I am great at articulating my thoughts in writing but speaking about them especially to a group is hard for me. My brain doesn’t process fast enough, I get anxious, and I just can’t pull the right words from  my brain quickly enough.  With this failure, came lessons. I learned that when speaking at length about my project, I need to prepare just like I would for a class discussion or speech. Write my ideas down first, and then practice speaking my thoughts out loud at least 10 times. The strategies I’ve learned over the years to accommodate my learning differences can be used in this very project. I’m learning how to shake failures off and build from my mistakes. I tend to be an over-analyzer of my past actions and replay a failure over and over in my head. Today, I was able to brush some of these thoughts off and write specifically down the goals of my project. My project got better because of this failure.

Today I made a mistake, but this week I’ve had lots of successes. Edie Evans taught me great research strategies to help me find reputable and helpful sources. I learned more from her more from Edie than any other discussion I’ve had about research processes. During my research today I implemented my new strategies and found specific resources that met the information I was looking for. Also, the feedback coming in from my surveys is proving to be tremendously helpful. My teacher survey is complete, and feedback from my student survey is still trickling in. An example of an insight I’ve been able to pull out of the feedback so far is that there is very little communication between students and faculty about student’s learning needs. Students feel intimidated and uncomfortable speaking to their teachers about their learning accommodations. Teachers say it would be helpful for students to communicate their needs with them. A better sense of community in Durham Academy that teachers could help facilitate might help address this problem. I’ve already found some research about “near peer” mentors- older students with learning differences mentoring younger peers with learning differences. These students could bridge the gap between students and faculty miscommunications. I know today I could have used a support and advice from someone who has a shared experience.