This Post first appeared on Andy Vasily’s LIFE Reflection Page.

Andy Vasily is a Featured Guest on Pushing The Edge Podcast

L – Learn to Embrace Mistakes and Failures 

I’m someone who is continually knocking at the edges of my comfort zone, daring myself to go beyond what’s safe and familiar.  

That certainly opens the door for mistakes.

How can it not – when you don’t know the lay of the land yet – when you don’t know all the insider tips and tricks – when you haven’t honed, refined and re-worked these new ways, making them your own. 

And yet when I recall my big, ‘Ohh no! What just happened? What were you thinking Greg?’ moments, they’ve often lead to significant shifts in my thinking and practice. 

That’s not to say I’m always cool, calm and collected about mucking up, getting it wrong, or failure in general.  

My Negative Nelly voice still likes to spout off at times. And I still feel that unsettling churn within me as I venture into unchartered waters .  

I  guess I now know though – that I’ll make it a helluva learning curve regardless of outcome.   

I – I am Responsible for my Learning Goals and Responses 

As someone who knew isolation, loneliness, and failure in my school years, I became very determined, self-reliant and self-motivated.  

These qualities have fuelled me ever since, giving me momentum and an unrelenting drive forward. 

And yet any strengths can have a shadow side. And so I keep pushing back against what’s safe and comfortable for me, challenging myself to keep reaching out and connecting with others. 

I’m passionate about challenging discrimination and injustice within education.  

Through the many ups and downs, the mountains of literature and years of research, and the pain-staking efforts to bring about change with colleagues – I now know the importance of digging deep to understand what leads or motivates people to support or oppose a cause – or even remain indifferent.  

My experience and the field of civil rights has also taught me that efforts to understand and build bridges – across what seem enormous chasms – can sometimes lead to quite unexpectedly positive outcomes. 

F –  Finding my Inspiration and Motivation 

Teaching is tough and demanding profession. I’ve seen the toll exacted on too many inspiring teachers – myself included.   

I had to change ME. I had to change the way I approached my calling.

I began to tune into what resonated for me – what lifted me – what made me and my students soar.

I paid more attention to what I was feeding myself – through media and personal interactions.

I gave more space to strengths and positivity in my life.

I chose to turn up my volume – building more of ‘what make me tick’ into my daily schedule.  

And what is it that makes me tick?

Helping students and teachers to realise that their voices, identities, cultures, interests and passions matter.  

Supporting them to truly be themselves – in all their weird, whacky, and diverse manifestations.

Supporting them to make an impact in their worlds.  Supporting them to thrive. 

E – Educating Myself 

I am a self-confessed perpetual student.

Just when I think, ‘that’s it, enough qualifications Greg,’ a bright shiny, sparkly object appears in the distance – enticing and drawing me in with its siren call, ‘study me, study me.’   

I often get restless when I feel like I’ve mastered something, when I feel like I know an area and have pushed my skills to max.  

I crave that which challenges me, that which takes me into new worlds of ideas and possibilities.  

And nowadays, there’s so many opportunities outside the walls of traditional education institutions.  

I mean ‘what’s a boy to do’ when there’s such an eclectic bunch of inspiring and supportive educators online. 

I simply can’t help myself. I surrender to my drug of choice – Learning.