“Alright class, who can tell me what ‘leap’ means?” I asked. I had previously had the class read along in their readers with me. Leap was one of the words I had to check to make sure they understood. When no one raised their hand, I explained how leap was like “a biiiiiig jump,” and got ready to jump.
For those unfamiliar with Taiwanese culture, when you go inside, you typically need to wear slippers. This was actually a culture point Japan brought to Taiwan when they had control over them long ago. Now if you go to a cram school, it varies as to if you can wear your shoes, socks, or if you need slippers. Some pairs of slippers have very nice traction on the floor, while others resemble ice skating.
And off into the air I was, a magnificent leap. Perfect form, all eyes on me. The kids were “oohing” as they saw their foreign teacher jump across the room. As my feet landed on the ground, I suddenly realized that these slippers had zero-traction (a late realization I know). My feet slide several feet, and then back into the air as my body fell back. Luckily my butt broke my fall.
Of course, all the students thought it was funny and were laughing. And of course, I was embarrassed. Not because of the kids though. I do all sorts of crazy antics teaching kids. The embarrassing part was that in the room with us were the head of the cram school, my hiring manager, and the teacher that actually teaches the class. Yes, I had completely fallen on my ass during an interview, my mind thinking oh greaaaaat. I just screwed this up big time.
Now why do I tell this story? Because there are a few things to learn about it. First of all, a screw up does not mean the end of the game. Most people if they have a major setback, they think that it’s the end of the line. No point in continuing anymore, right? WRONG! You need to finish what you have started. Why give up halfway? Just because something bad happens doesn’t mean you should give up.*
Secondly, sometimes it’s not about whether or not you make mistakes, it’s about how you handle those mistakes. If you take realize you made a mistake and you try to hide it, you are essentially a coward. If you get in a really bad mood over the mistake and take it out on other people, you have the maturity of a little kid. You have to own up to what happened and do what you can to fix it. You made a series of decisions that led you to the situation where you are now. While yes you cannot always choose what events happen in your life, you can choose how to react to them. Will you hide mistakes? Blame someone else? Get mad? The best thing is to brush it off and keep moving. Not only does it show you can handle setbacks, sometimes it makes you look more impressive than if you didn’t mess up. It shows that you are reliable when s*** hits the fan, even if you caused it.
So as I was on the floor, I knew that the kids found it very amusing. Although my skin started to feel hot and tingly from embarrassment, I nonchalantly brushed my hand through my hair, and doing the “cool kid snap my fingers into pointing” at the kids I smirked “and that is why kids, we need to look before we leap. Especially when wearing slippers.” I then got back up like nothing happened and proceeded to the next vocab word. What happened once the company was done interviewing candidates? They told me that they liked my personality the best and that the kids reacted more with me than with other candidates. Don’t let mistakes get in your way.