Nothing Wrong with a Little Rejection

I have to admit, things have been going well lately. My 5th installment on passion-based learning, posted on Powerful Learning Practice’s blog was selected for a March’s Editors Choice Content Award by SmartBrief. The manuscript for my first book, Digital Student Portfolios, looks more like a real book every day. The weather in Wisconsin allowed the students to wear T-shirts during recess today. Like I said, very little to complain about.


photo credit: Daniel Kulinski via photopin cc

These precipitating events helped ease the rejection of my article for the summer edition of Educational Leadership. Tentatively titled “Digital Book Clubs”, I wrote a narrative piece about how the students, staff, and parents in our school have all participated in accessing online resources as we engage in reading. I had a few people read it ahead of time; they thought it was a worthy submission.

What also helped in dealing with the fact that my article wasn’t good enough to make the cut was the feedback provided by ASCD. “I’m sorry to report that yours is one of the very good manuscripts we cannot publish. Because you have put so much work into this piece, I hope you will submit it elsewhere. Our editors gave it high ratings.” Although not specific to my article in general, the effort was appreciated.

This rejection is not my first nor my last. I am sure I will submit something in the future to Educational Leadership. What I can hang my hat on is that I was a learner of my own practice through the act of writing. What I learned during this process was invaluable, from drafting the initial piece, to revising and editing it to make it submission-ready, to subsequent revisions to improve upon it even more. As I came back to the text, each time I found an idea that led me back to why we tried these practices in the first place.

The difference in the spelling of “rejection” and “reflection” is only two letters. Maybe this is not a coincidence.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District ( Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD ( and Lead Literacy (

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