Rejection, Repurposed

April 1, 2019


 I really wanted to hear “yes.” I really wanted to read, “We’re excited to inform you…” “Thrilled” would've been nice, too.


I got two rejection notices last week and admittedly they did surprise me a bit (probably because I haven’t interviewed for a job or applied to a school in more than a dozen years which is how most of us receive “thank you, but” statements). I have heard “yes” from most conference selection committees and the learning, connecting, thinking, and stretching has been so much fun I hadn’t paid much attention when I didn’t hear “yes.”


And I am grateful. Last week there was a “yes” and another opportunity to apply (along with the chance to meet some of my favorite educators this fall!), but I wanted those two.


I didn’t have much time to reflect because this was a weekend of old, dear friends: one I haven’t seen in 10 years and who met my husband and kids; many friends we haven’t seen in three years who brought along with them three new babies; friends my kids adore who stayed with us all weekend; friends having their first baby shower.




And my husband’s event of the year, our Crawfish Boil, which brings friends from every circle together. May every Spring Break start this way forevermore.


I drove for three hours yesterday and got that time to truly feel that rejection and reflect. Here’s the gold from my mining (yes, I'll always be on a Steinbeck-kick):


  • Rejection letters can’t compare with all of the beauty and fun and people in my life.

  • I haven’t had to deal with rejection for a long time.

  • I’m grateful for people I’ve never met who feel the same passion for education and the techniques we’ve seen work for so many students.

  • These events are annual events.

  • I need to get used to rejection.

  • I need to look at how I’m communicating ideas.

  • My own children will grow up knowing I get rejections and they’ll watch me keep going.

  • I need to share those letters with my students and reflect with them on what these letters really mean: they’re not personal, they’re not denials of my ideas or my passion, they’re not notifying me to stop.


And my favorite:

  • Rejection is proof of my trying.


So I will try and submit and apply and publish and speak.


I still feel it and the truth doesn't always feel good: I will hear “no.” 


I can't stop trying. The more I try and submit and apply and publish and speak, the more I will fail and the more I will succeed. And my successes will be the successes of teachers and the successes of our students. 


So let both piles grow as high as they can. We'll need that material many days, for confetti.




(This is our crawfish boil and yes, you're invited every year.)

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