Working on my Résumé

Logic says that this is not the year for me to try to write a story every day in March.  I have report cards to write this weekend. I have parent-teacher conferences later in the month.  I have a wife who’ll be having foot surgery in a little over a week, and, because the timing makes no sense, or because his ears look too floppy to resist, we’ve decided that this month will be a good month to adopt a new puppy.  I also have that pesky teaching thing that goes along with the report cards and the conferences.  

Last week I was reading a book that our staff is reading together this year.  In it, Jimmy Casas says that every kid should “build a résumé of failures…and so should the adults.”  He goes on to say, “Failure should not be something that brings us shame; it helps us grow!”  

I have failed more than a few times in my life.  There have been the comic fails, like when I was 30 and decided to ski for the first time. A low-stress day on the bunny slope with my four-year-old nephew would be a great way to ease into the sport, I imagined.  Somehow, though, I found the bunny slope surprisingly challenging. After I fell for the fourth or fiftieth time on that first run, young Thomas, all 3-foot-1 of him, shushed past me trailing an effortless cloud of powder.  “You’re getting much better, Uncle Peter!” he yelled over his shoulder, a blur as he hurtled fearlessly toward the base of the hill.

There have been the embarrassing fails, like the time that Sam Debone, my counselor at day camp, decided that I needed to be more of a leader.  He had me swim the final leg, the freestyle leg for the medley relay in our camp swim meet. My team was ahead by half a pool length when I dove into the pool for my leg.  We lost by nearly that much. I was a different kind of anchor for my team.

Then there was my high school graduation, where I failed to listen to the instructions at the rehearsal. Our class had about 700 students. Apparently, if the person in front of you was not in attendance at the ceremony, you were supposed to hand a red card to a proctor so that they would remove that person’s name from the list.  Failure to heed this rule might mean that when it was your turn to walk across the stage, after your family had waited hours to get to the V portion of the alphabetical roll, you might not get the introduction you anticipated. You might, instead be introduced by a slightly confused principal as…Elaine Voith, or something like that.  Yep, that could happen.

So, I guess, with that, I’ll take this approach as I enter into this March challenge:  If I manage to write a slice every day, I’ll be setting a good example of discipline and commitment for my students, and if I fail…well, it’ll look good on my résumé.

21 thoughts on “Working on my Résumé

  1. I love the structure of your slice- how you connect your beginning and ending. And I love that we learn so much about some of your small but unforgettable moments. Welcome and happy slicing!

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  2. I love the surprise of the type of resumé that you are working on: it was lighthearted and delightful.
    My immediate prediction based on the title of your post was, “oh no, not another teacher leaving the profession . . .”
    I love your summarizing paragraph- I can relate to it

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  3. You ended on a positive! The way I look at it Life happens. Sometimes we are successful at writing all 31 days (some days our writings are better than others). Other years we completely miss a day or four simply because we’re pulled in fifteen different directions. I love how you wrote this. I’m looking forward to reading more of your writing.

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  4. So true – we learn the most, feel the most and hopefully, in time, laugh the most from our failures. And a puppy… look forward to connecting this month.

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  5. What a great idea – a resume of failures. I could write a failure a day for 31 days! This is such a great way to embrace our failings, but push ourselves to keep trying. I’m so glad you are writing. I love reading your posts. I hope that you can keep it up, alongside all of the other priorities you are trying to juggle. (p.s. I sure hope you write about that new puppy!)

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  6. You had me laughing as I picture you introduced as Elaine. We just finished conferences and will be going to Outdoor School (science camp) for four days next week where wifi is spotty. I, too considered not participating, but signed up and decided I could be a Welcome Wagon volunteer. I am sure we will both regret our decisions later this month, but will end up better people for it come April. I am glad you will be along for the tortuous ride.

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  7. I’m currently job hunting and your post title caught my eye! Especially the last line rung true eo me. Looking at all of my failures, even in my job search, as gorgeous models of how discipline and commitment are great teachers of patience and that our resumes a place to hold our painful (at times), but knowledge-gained stories.

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    1. “A different kind of anchor for my team” is such a great line. I’m inspired by your commitment to writing every day, while recognizing that you may fall short of your goal.

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  8. I love this post. I like the style of your writing and can hear the humor amid the failure in your voice. We do learn from our failures for sure, and I love the idea of it creating a resume of sorts. I love the last line!

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  9. Of course I have to first love that a faculty meeting quote inspired a slice. Sometimes we think ideas may be failing and then a spark to let us know indeed they are not. This slice has done that for me. March sure sounds like challenge for you, in more ways than one. Challenges and failures can be just the fuel we need to keep on keepin’ on. Here’s to you, my long time colleague and friend whose words always inspire me in ways to numerous to count!

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  10. Well – you already saw that you inspired me – and I can’t promise I will comment *every* day – but I really love reading your writing. And I cannot WAIT to meet your new puppy. Thanks for exactly the kick in the pants that I needed this month. Let’s fail gloriously together!

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  11. I am totally adopting this “resume of failure” idea. It’s a winner! I love your writing and am looking forward to reading lots of it this month. I suspect the puppy will have a starring role. (Wait! It just occurs to me that by getting a new puppy you’ve gained a clear advantage over the rest of us who will be hunting up stories in our puppy-less lives! Brilliant move on your part!)

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