Failing Forward: Adjust and Adapt Baby

Failing Forward: Adjust and Adapt Baby

Remote learning has been difficult for teachers, administrators, students, and parents. No one signed up to be an online or from a distance teacher or student. Parents did not expect to be ‘home schooling’ their children. Administrators had no desire to run a hybrid or fully virtual school. Yet, these are the times we live in with the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s world is all about “adjust and adapt” baby.

This is new for all stakeholders. It’s like starting all over. Think about a baby, first learning to walk. That’s us! We will stumble a lot. We will fall down often. We will teeter on the brink many times. Also like an infant, we must fail forward. Get up, get over it, and try again. What we are forgetting to do is celebrate the successes along the way. Recall, the infant learning to walk was surrounded by people coaxing, cheering, and celebrating all the failures along the way. Teachers, administrators, students, and parents also need praise in their efforts and understanding that it’s okay to “adjust and adapt.” Knowing that failure will be part of the process and that we can fail forward by getting up, getting over it, and moving on.

The pandemic reminds us that we must focus on where our feet are today. Planted in remote learning. We cannot linger in the days of yesteryear, nor dream of a better future down the line. I like to say, keep a WIN attitude. WIN is an acronym for What’s Important Now. When I say now, I mean in the moment – within the moment of the lesson or the conversation.  

Teaching in these times, it does not matter if your school is in a hybrid or remote model, there are many occasions that things will come undone – where the teacher, students, even parents are derailed. Focus on your feet. Where are they planted in that moment? Park the failure aside (to be reflected on later) and move forward. Just like when you park your car in a lot. You forget about it. Go on with your business. Later go find the car. Park the failures in the moment. Later, outside the moment of failure, come back to it so that you can reflect, learn, and grow.

There are also times when things go marvelously well. Celebrate these wonderous events. Share successes with peers. Use social media to post stories, artifacts, or call outs of celebration. Clap, smile, and cheer with students and parents. Encouraged others, even when they fall down. Find the little success in each and every day. Remember, a wobbly baby is on the brink of success to a waddle, and eventually walking with their head held high. Be proud of yourself and others around you.

In the traditional classroom, educators were good at adjusting and adapting on their feet. Often, we even laughed at these moments. Yet, many have not taken this fail forward attitude with us into today’s unfamiliar instructional settings. Even in these times, please know that laughter is permitted! Fall down, get up, giggle, and keep moving forward.

COVID-19 has put us on equal footing. We are all new at this. Stay grounded. Maintain a WIN attitude. Focus on what you can do today, not what was possible before, nor want to do “when things are better.” And yes, at times we will fail. Embrace the mindset of failing forward and celebrating the little successes along the way. Adjust and adapt baby!

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