Sunday, January 28, 2018

January Reflections: Failing Forward

January...for many teachers it is the month of reflection. 
It serves as the midway point, the time of year when we assess how far our children have come and  how far they still need to go. 
It can be the month that the struggle becomes even more real and our challenges can appear insurmountable. 
The testing data is in, calculated and analyzed. 
Are you pleased? 
Teachers are often more critical of themselves than anyone else would ever be of them. 
We expect a lot of ourselves.
The names and numbers on those data sheets and screens can reflect that the majority of our students are growing by leaps and bounds; yet, the names that stick out, the names that we fixate on are those one or two students who are not making the gains we expected we would see. 
How we react to that news is critical. 
It can mean the difference between a student's and a teacher's stagnation or growth. 
For as much as we want our students to grow, we as teachers, also must grow and develop alongside our students. 

At these times, I always reflect back on a book I read a while ago. 
In the book, Failing Forward, author John Maxwell shares his insight on the topic of failure. 
He believes that the major difference between achieving people and average people is their perception of and response to failure. He covers the top reasons people fail and shows how to master fear instead of being mastered by it. 

Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success by [Maxwell, John C.]
It is a powerful read...check it out by here:

So let's not let those data graphs and scores scare us into despair and paralysis. 
Let's see challenge instead as an opportunity to overcome and to "fail forward".  

Are there instructional strategies and methods that you haven't ever used?
Teaching challenges are sometimes needed to inspire us to stretch, grow and develop our teaching techniques.
Let's allow our teaching setbacks be the springboard that propels us into action. 
Struggle make us stronger. 
So never give up...together we can move mountains for our kids. 

Move Mountains Enamelware Mug

I'm revamping some reading interventions and will add a Syllasearch component on a more consistent basis to see if it will help my readers who struggle with phonics and word solving. 
If you are interested, let me know and I'll be back to document the progress. 
You can read about the Syllasearch Intervention in this book by Isabel Beck: 
Image result for syllasearch

So, what are your struggles? 
I'd love this blog to be centered around Teachers Helping Teachers.
So please me at or comment below. 


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