Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Part of my ethos

There is a famous Wayne Gretzky quote that I treasure:

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Wayne Gretzky was not just talking about his particular sport, ice hockey, but of life itself. We cannot succeed if we don't at least try. I understand that there are plenty of facets of life that are way beyond our control. What we can control is the willingness to take our shots for those things we value most. 

I try to model that ethos by engaging students in my courses, and by pushing them to try some things that perhaps they find scary. Methodology and Statistics courses are ones in particular where students seem prone to miss shots that they could have taken, primarily out of fear. I do what I can to break everything down, and hopefully in the process make that material less scary. My bottom line is I want my students to take their shots (i.e., complete their assigned work). I want my students to at least try enough to learn from the experience, rather than to simply give up and fade away. In the process, I take my shots. I engage. If I see that a student is no longer showing up in my classes and labs, or is no longer logging on to an online course, I send emails. Sometimes I get responses that lead to completing coursework. Sometimes, I never get a reply. But if nothing else, I can say I tried.

In the meantime, there may be some major life changes coming my way - if not within the next few weeks, most likely within the next year or two. I'm taking a few shots of my own.

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