I have always been a fan of turning the word fail into acronym, First Attempt In Learning. I think many would agree with me that we can learn valuable lessons from failure. Yet, failuring is not often accepted in our professional practice. We often operate under the assumption that we must not, cannot, fail. By having this mindset, we put an inordinate amount of pressure on ourselves.
My guest today, Zak Cohen, wants to help normalize professional failure. In a somewhat humorous, unintentional mishap, I experienced failure on multiple levels when Zak and I first connected for this interview. I’ve included pieces of those first attempts. And while I say that I like the idea of the acronym of F.A.I.L., when it was happening in the moment, I was not initially thankful for the failing that was happening. But the lesson and experience created authenticity to our topic today.
Zak Cohen is an educator, consultant, and blogger, specializing in personalized learning, school leadership, and Mistake Literacy. He is the Middle School Director at Francis Parker School of Louisville, with more than a decade of teaching experience in independent and international schools in the United States, China, and South Africa. He was named an ASCD Emerging Leader in 2020 and an Ignite Louisville Emerging Leader in 2022. He is a doctoral candidate in Education Leadership and Management at Drexel University.