I would have said if you put my dad, my sister, my fiance, and myself on a boat then we would be an expert crew. That was until my sister bought her 35’ ft. Pearson sailboat and docked it at the Ashley Marina in Charleston Harbor. On our first sail out of the Ashley Marina, we quickly realized we were not the masters of sailing we thought we were and we struggled in this new environment. In all of our previous sails, we had never experienced one thing - a 5ft tide. There is no tide on the lake, the Caribbean only has 1ft of tide, and you do not have to worry quite as much about the tide when you are beaching a boat. But you must know that a 5ft tide is most definitely something to worry about when you are docking a boat, especially in a really tight harbor, and we have had some accidents - very embarrassing accidents. Yet, we practice, we keep coming back for more, and we have had some fairly successful sails.
Last Friday, my family yet again took the boat out, and for a majority of the sail everything was wonderful and a feeling of success was in the air. That is until the final docking of the day. The tide caught the boat as it was backing into the slip, the reverse on the boat could not combat the power of the ocean, and the port side of the sailboat was thrown against the neighboring motorboat. Needless to say, it was a boating tragedy and the feeling of success was snuffed out quickly. In fact, a wave of dejection passed through the crew and everyone in my family questioned whether or not, we could do this, if it was worth it. The answer I came up with is - It is! We are sailors, it is in our blood, and we, as a family, are not quitters. My fiancé and I want to take sailing adventures, and if we are going to do it, we must be able to sail and dock with powerful tides. (Tidbit of information: The tide increases as you go further away from the equator and farther north.) But are we ever going to achieve mastery in sailing? I think not. We must work to master this environment and then continue to pursue more challenging ones.
In the Ted Talk below, Sarah Lewis discusses near wins and the difference between success and mastery. She states, “Mastery is in the reaching, not the arriving. It's in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you are and where you want to be. Mastery is about sacrificing for your craft and not for the sake of crafting your career.” In teaching, we face a number of failures and successes; yet, while we strive for mastery, we must realize that we will never obtain it nor do we necessarily want to. When we see ourselves as masters of our craft, we will either falter in new environments or fail to grow and learn new things. There is always something that will challenge us to be better if we allow for the opportunity. As we move towards developing a personalized learning environment in our schools and classrooms, we are going to find ourselves failing and succeeding in ways that we never thought possible. We will face the 5 ft tide and overcome it. Yet, as we experience success, we need to never accept that we have become the best and have obtained mastery. We must keep moving north!