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edu180atl: jack parrish 4.12.12

We are pushed from a very early age to succeed in life. Run faster, study harder, get the best grades. Achieve, achieve, achieve! What I learned recently is that more learning often happens through failure than through success.

“I regret to inform you that you were not among those selected.”

Nothing stings more than rejection. The above quote, taken from a rejection letter, was addressed to me from a summer fellowship I applied for. Why me? Was there something that I could have done differently?

My initial reaction was self-pity and doubt. Why was I not good enough? Should I just give up? Am I a bad teacher?

Having spent years encouraging students when they do not succeed, I began to examine the other side. While the program would have been a great experience, it would not have taught my classes for me, nor would it have created lessons plans, or written progress reports. I began searching for other opportunities and thought about how I could make my application more impressive next year. Gradually, the pain of failure kindled a desire to become a better teacher.

You learn more about yourself in defeat and failure than you do in success. Will you give up? Will self-doubt and pity creep into your mind? Will you change the mistakes you made? Will you succeed in the future?

Embrace the failure. Live in the moment when you do not succeed. You might learn something.

About the Author: Jack Parrish (@jack_parrish) is a Fifth Grade teacher at Trinity School in Atlanta. He also coaches football and lacrosse at the Lovett School.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mary Fletcher Stewart #

    And you are quite a teacher! Those rejections worked in our favor! Couldn’t ask for a better man to teach my headstrong and determined 5th grade daughter. Thank you for all you do!

    April 12, 2012
  2. I can relate to your post and your feelings here, Jack. Before my novel was finally published last year, I received around two dozen rejections from both agents and publishers. Each time I opened the email or letter and read those words “I sorry but…” my heart sank. In my writing, I poured myself onto the pages and so these rejections felt very personal. After dealing with the depression from each one, I went back to my laptop and began editing the book again, and again. Along the way, a friend of mine from high school (who also happens to be a Trinity grad) who is a NYT bestselling author of YA books told me how her first five books were rejected before she was finally published. I still remember her words of advice to me: “Giving up is not an option!”

    April 13, 2012
  3. marymeganhoward #

    Love this, Jack. Thanks for sharing such a personal story — one of growth and good things to come in the future. TKC will miss out on your gifts this summer, but what more will you be able to add in the next?

    April 13, 2012

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