"This truth telling can unlock people"- Glennon Doyle Melton This is why I write.
In my last post, I referenced my recent "double #failforward". I want to share this, not only for myself, but in hopes that someone else can connect.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to present a small section of a professional development in our district. I of course said "yes", because that is one of my passions. One of the difficult things in our office is that we are all running in different directions, all the time. It is really hard to all sit down and plan through a full day training. So, we touch base when we can. Exchange emails and share resources and pieces of presentations. We are lucky in that we have these capabilities through technology. It definitely helps with time and efficiency, but I am always worried about what gets missed when not face to face.
I am on in the second half of the day and I think I understand what my part is, and plan accordingly. I always like to do the activity portion of PD, and that is what I was going to do. The day was wrapped around understanding a specific test and the data. My section was the "now what?" piece. You have all of this information, now what do you do with kids?
I created a slide deck for participants to work on (a variation of Jon Corippo's Iron Chef Slides). Each partner group was to look at the test prompt that I gave them and on the slide, create examples of quick activities to work on the target skill. I explained the task, showed an example and passed out the prompts. I was met with "What? I don't understand what we are doing?" "What are you talking about?" "What are these papers?". It wasn't just one person...it was the majority. Oh my goodness, I MESSED UP! Failure alert!!! Ok, let's bring the group together, let me explain it in a different way...this was met with more puzzled looks and frustration. I would love to say that I handled this with grace and made it a great #failforward moment. Maybe on the outside...but on the inside, I was beating myself up. What did I do wrong? Did I not explain thoroughly? This activity must suck...I didn't set it up right...I must suck.
I did talk to the group about #failforward (which many had never heard before) but I couldn't, in that moment, think of the learning...I could only start heading down that rabbit hole. Thankfully, the group was a fantastic room of educators whom I know and love and they rolled with it. They helped each other and muddled through. Phew...my part is over...on to the next activity, with someone else.
I did eventually figure out what went wrong. I was not able to attend the first half of the training, so I did not know fully, what was covered. Many had never given the test nor seen the prompts. I handed them something they had never seen before. I should have not assumed, but inquired. My fault. But that is not the purpose of this post.
Here is what I wanted to share. I COULD NOT let it go. I did what I always say NOT to do. I beat myself up! I racked my brain, trying to connect the dots. What happened? Why did I fail? I started questioning my ability as a presenter. Then questioning myself on my understanding of the content. Then went so far as to question "Who do I think I am? Who am I to stand in front of people?" It was BAD. To make matters worse, I KNEW better. I wasn't taking my own advice. I wasn't "walking the talk". This was my second "fail". This led to..."how can I ask people to do one thing and here I am doing the other?". Rabbit hole #2! Luckily, a friend saw a bewildered look on my face later and questioned me. Her advice: "Let it go". And that is all I needed, to snap myself out of it. In the game of life, this was NOT a big deal!
So I began to go through the #failforward process:
1) Recognition: I am not taking my own advice. This part got to me. I felt like a fraud.
2) Move forward: This is when I needed to remind myself that everyone makes mistakes. WE are all human and we fall. There is no use getting stuck in the "beat up" cycle. Time to stop thinking about myself and focus on others. I am not the center of the universe, what can I do with this to help others?
3) Reflect: This one is usually the hardest. But basically, I reflected on the idea that I need to really practice what I preach, but realize that no one is perfect. For me to practice it, I must be in it. And I WAS in it. I knew I had to go through this process, that I wrote about, to come out the other side...and be ok.
4) Learning: I don't know if there was any new learning, as I fail forward all the time. I think it was more of the reflection that sometimes we get stuck, but the important part is to make sure that we get unstuck. For ourselves and others.
5) Grow: I need to not be so hard on myself. I make it a point to never judge others, yet I am constantly judging myself. If I were a participant sitting in the room, I would be empathetic to the situation and not think twice about it. I need to close up those rabbit holes.
6) Go: After I went through this process, I knew I needed to share it because I can't be the only one that does this. And although I am always saying: "Failforward", I know it is not always as easy as it sounds.
I know I am being totally vulnerable with this one, but I think it is important. Like I have said before, if this helps just one person with a "Me too!", my purpose in writing this, is complete.
Here is a positive...through this process, I have now added a second half to the phrase...#failforwad #reflectback
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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