In middle school I built a website about the seven wonders of the ancient world. Nothing fancy – just images and some links – and I never published it. Building a personal website over the past few days as per Jeremy’s request feels a bit like coming full circle. My HTML skills remain prepubescent at best, and my barebones site keeps the spirit of GeoCities in the early 1990’s alive and well. Check it out. http://bmw9t.github.com.
I admit to some hesitation in posting this fledgling site for all to see: so much more could be done to bring it into the twenty-first century. But I keep coming back to Bethany’s encouragement last week to fail in public, advice with which I am in love. My graduate training thus far has emphasized polish and perfection, for clear and obvious reasons. But even at this early stage, my work with Praxis feels more electric knowing that mistakes are welcome and that failure is viewed as a space of experimentation and elaboration rather than embarrassment.
I cannot imagine any sort of collaborative activity (teaching included) that would not benefit from a healthy injection of interpersonal risk. We can’t really work together until we know each other, and that depth of knowledge only comes from admitting that we don’t have all the answers and that we don’t always succeed. Opening yourself up to such failures and recognizing their importance as part of any process is a necessary step towards collaboration that is more honest and certainly more human.
A promise for you out there in the ether: by the end of the year I will have turned failing into an art form. I’m sure in May I will look back on this early site with disdain and an eye to incorporating all sorts of tech wizardry. Maybe I’ll add a GIF. For now, I’m off to break the Internet.