In reading Madeline L’engle’s Walking on Water, I was impressed by her honesty:
One of the things that I learned on the road back is that I do not have to be right. I have to try to do what is right, but when it turns out, as happens with all of us to be wrong, to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and to try, if possible, to make reparation. But I have to accept the fact that I am often unwise; that I am not always loving; that I make mistakes; that I am, in fact, human.
In my classroom, I always encouraged my students to try their hardest. I didn’t expect them to be right, but I did expect them to try their hardest and to preserve even when they were wrong. As their teacher, I saw this as a way of creating a safe environment for them to learn to fail, but also a way to challenge their developing confidence and to recognize the importance of community.
But I never took these ideas or words to heart. I was their teacher. I needed to be right and to do right for their sakes.
Maybe I was wrong after all.