I love failure.

I am an epic failure.

And I am so happy to have failed so enormously.

Admittedly, I haven’t always been happy about it.

You know that feeling you get when you first face your failure head on. Your stomach twists in knots, you feel sick. Then, if it’s epic and public enough, your face gets tingly (the literal sting of public embarrassment) and, if you’re anything like me, you may need to rapidly blink away the tears welling up behind your eyes. And then, you’ll look around quickly to make sure no one saw.

After only a few weeks starting my new career, working for a company that is passionate about competency-based education, I thought it would be a great idea to submit a presentation proposal, bringing my experience as a public school educator moving a school to competency based learning, to SXSWedu. My proposal, in writing, is fabulous (read it, I promise you will not be disappointed!). You want to come to this session, you need to know about the obstacles inherent in moving a school system to competency-based grading and how to solve them. If you are in education and you don’t know why this is such an important topic, then, I recommend a bit of professional reading.

My proposal is not my failure. Not even close. It is my manifesto about the importance of making education better and more effective for our modern learners. But my friends, SXSW is using crowdsourcing to help determine which proposals are heard at their upcoming edu conference in March. So they required that all submissions include supporting documents in the form of video or slideshare.

So make a video, I did. With limited production equipment, not even good lighting or a hairbrush. And I rocked it…or so I thought.  I laid it all out on the line, this is why CBE is important to me. This is why I am passionate about finding ways for students to be successful. This is why I want to talk with people at SXSW. And in spite of my passion and sheer determination (or perhaps because of it) this is the end result. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this year’s WORST SXSWedu video submission.

Please don’t try to make me feel better by saying something like, “It’s not that bad.”

No, it is! I promise you, every 1:59 seconds of it is absolutely horrifying. I can’t lie, nor should you. Embrace it, my video is #1250 out of the possible 1250 record number of submitted SXSWedu proposals. But that’s what makes it such an amazing epic fail. It is the #1 worst submission video this year!

There have been many epic fails throughout history, I am truly honored to be able to count myself among them. Fortunately, my failure will not cause the demise of a republic nor result in anyone losing their life. The greatest achievement in being an epic failure is not in the failure itself, but in the lesson that you have the potential to learn from such a deficiency of success.

That is the beautiful thing about competency-based education. It eliminates the fear of failure. As humans, we all fail. We shouldn’t let these moments define us, but embrace them and learn from them to make us more tenacious.

I can no longer hide behind my failure. I embrace it and if I had a white flag, I would wave it. And I want you to too. So please take a minute and vote yes for the best worst video submission at SXSWedu so that we can meet and talk about how good it can be to be an epic fail and why our students need to see more of this from us.

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