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Teachers: How would you/ would you speak about your past mistakes and failures to your students?

I feel as though kids need to know it is OK to talk about and learn from mistakes. However, the pressure put on both students and teachers NOT to make mistakes leads to test and performance anxiety. How do you deal with mistakes in your classroom?

I think of the movie Meet the Robinsons when I think of this topic and have used it in the past.


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  • May 2 2012: I think most students understand that it is okay to make mistakes, and as an art teacher it is easy to identify the few students that are perectionists/affaid of making mistakes. These students can be encouraged on an individual basis. They are the students that are asking for help every step of the way, work slowly, are easily frustrated, constantly erase and rework their work, etc.... For example, this year I had a high school student cry because they were so frustrated with their work. I approached the student, and had her use the restroom to compose herself. When she returned, I offered some help and suggestions. She is a talented girl, but I know she really struggles with making mistakes (not sure if the pressure is intrinsic or extrisic). I shared that I have mistakes/flaws in every piece of art I have ever made, that her friends make mistakes as well. I also recognized that doesn't make mistakes any easier to except. Mistakes are unavoidable and what matters is not making mistakes, but how we respond when a mistake has been made. After her mini-meltdown she has been better. She has not let mistakes bother her so much. Although she has told me that she has got emotional about making mistakes outside of art class.

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