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[Weekly Inspiration] How Teachers Can Bounce Back From Failure

[Weekly Inspiration] How Teachers Can Bounce Back From Failure

Everyone has had to struggle through a situation that didn’t go as planned. Teachers, who work every day in scenarios with a lot of moving parts, know better than most how quickly a situation can spiral out of control when something goes wrong. EdWeek recently interviewed a number of teachers and professional development coaches on this very topic.

Allison Smith, a former teacher and current coach for teachers, explains that it’s hard for educators not to take this personally. "Teachers have a really difficult time not personalizing failure because our jobs are personal,” she says. “We care a lot about our kids, our students, and we don't want to fail them—that is our deepest fear as a teacher.”

How, then, can teachers learn to cope, to bounce back, and to get a classroom back on track even in the wake of failure?

According to Sarah Brown Wessling, the 2010 National Teacher of the Year, teachers must embrace the idea of “failing forward.” Educators must learn how to not only accept their failures, but also analyze mistakes with their peers so that they can move forward together.

"I think this one really resonates with teachers," argues Wessling. "There's just an authenticity to it and a kind of camaraderie that we have about making mistakes—it's a shared experience. We all know what it feels like to have a wonderful vision in your mind and have it unravel."

Teachers should never be afraid to take risks, argues Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate. "Safe lessons are a recipe for mediocrity," he said. "You never know where those edges are until you fall off them. And when you do fall off, it's not a big deal because they come back the next day, and you make it right."

Teachers who learn to take risks, who learn to fall forward, are learning to continuously challenge their students in new ways. Check out the full piece here, and remember that it’s okay to fail sometimes, because your students will come back the next day and you will improve and make it right.

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