What are you afraid of?

I read Laura Coughlin’s post “I Want to Teach Out on a Limb” the other day, and it definitely got me thinking about my fears.

I think my biggest fear is failure. I am afraid to fail. Because of this, I sometimes don’t take the chances and risks I could (or should). There is that little voice in my head that tells me if I don’t try something big, I don’t have to worry about failing.

And yet, I expect my students to try new things, jump off the ledge, and go for it – even if they do fail. Because I know, logically, that you can learn more from failure than success. I also know that when I take a leap, my friends will be there to be pick me up if I fall, or to help me soar if I succeed.
How can I ask my students to take risks if I don’t?

I’ve been slowly learning this lesson. The first time I applied for Honeywell’s Space Academy for Educators,  I did not get in to the program. I was sad and wondered how a complete space geek like me could not get in. However, I didn’t let failure hold me back, and the next time I applied, I was accepted. I then applied for advanced academy my first year out, and I did not expect to get in, but I did!

Next my Team Kennedy inspirations shared information about the NASA Summer of Innovation mini grants, so I decided to apply. I knew I had nothing to lose if I “failed” and much to gain for my students if I succeeded. Yesterday, I found out that I had been awarded the grant!

I am not so afraid of failing now. I have had a few experiences of trying for things and not making it. It still takes a leap, though. I am reminded of the quote we saw at a presentation while at KSC: Dare Mighty Things. So, what will I dare to try next? I have decided to apply for the Google Teacher Academy New York. I am pretty sure it’s a long shot, but I won’t have any chance at all if I don’t at least try.

So, what are you afraid of?
Thank you to Krissy Venosdale for the awesome images!

By Janelle

Space geek, science nerd extraordinaire. That's me! Want to know more, visit the About page.


  1. I’m so glad my post inspired you to write! A writing teacher’s dream 🙂

    I have been meaning to post about my biggest fear – wasting time – but I’ve been swamped with master’s coursework. You have inspired to to get on it!!


    1. Thanks for sharing (and tweeting the post), and I look forward to your next post. I often have trouble with wasting time, too. However for me, it’s more at home and in “free” time than with my students in class.

  2. Who cares if it’s a long shot?! Think of all the people who DO think that and, consequently, DON’T apply! It’s a good lesson for all of us to learn. Thanks for the post, and GO GET ‘EM! Keep it up!

    1. Thanks, Joy! That’s definitely the type of thought I’ve allowed to cripple me in the past – but not this time! The application process itself will be good experience.

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