If you are on a mission to be the best you can possibly be. If you are committed to providing the very best education you possibly can for the children in your care. If you are committed to achieving greatness on your campus, one thing is for sure… you will fail. How you rebound after failure determines your future success.
Unfortunately, we don’t always reach goals we set for ourselves. Sometimes the goals were unrealistic from the beginning. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances appear and serve as great obstacles. Sometimes we simply have the wrong action plan in place to reach our goal.
When failure appears at your doorstep, how do you respond? Do you continue your action plan as developed? Do you blame circumstances? Do you blame other people? Do you blame your students? Do you blame your teachers? Do you blame your parents? Do you blame central administration? Do you blame politicians? If you blame anyone other than yourself and your plan, you are sure to fail again.
Blaming anyone other than yourself or your plan is pointless. You cannot control anyone other than yourself. To blame anyone other than yourself means you can never reach your goal. Instead of blaming others, think about why the plan didn’t work.
Did I have a solid tutorial plan in place, but students didn’t attend tutorials?
Action Plan: Find a way to get the students there. Feed them. Give them a prize for attending all sessions. If you have parent permission, have someone collect all of the students before dismissal before they have an opportunity to escape the building.
Did I have a solid intervention system where interventions were given frequently and consistently?
Reflection Questions: Were the right teachers with the right group of students? Were students appropriately grouped? Were teachers using appropriate material with students?
Do I have the right people on the right bus in the right seat at the right time?
Reflection Questions: Determine “the best fit” for each of your teachers. Are you benefiting from everyone’s strengths? Some teachers do a great job with the younger students. Some teachers do a great job with older students. Identify the strengths of your teachers and place them accordingly.
Do we have solid Tier 1 instruction in place?
Action Plan: If most of your students are not successful, it’s a sure sign that there is a curriculum and instruction issue. Either the curriculum is not aligned to state standards or teachers are not properly “instructing” the curriculum in the classroom. Determine which is the concern and then work to fix it. If it is instruction, dig deep to determine the exact areas that are lacking.…then put together a plan to train your staff. Consider frequent and consistent time each week spent on professional development. Train all staff members in areas that seem to be the weakest areas on the campus.
The way to learn from failure and move forward is to reflect on your practices and make necessary changes. When you fail, how do you rebound?
Paula Patterson is a former principal who shares practical points on the principalship.