Failing Forward! 

by Mike Leander, Principal, Athol Community Elementary School, Athol, MA

KDILastBellAs a teacher, with 12 weeks left to go in school, I always gave myself permission to try some new ideas, and to implement strategies or activities I had read about in books or seen in other areas of my personal professional development.  This permission gave me a chance to work out the kinks, ditch an idea, or find a home run.  I found it reenergized my end of the year, not only for myself, but also my students.  I was brutally honest with them as we rolled out a new idea and they shared that same honesty with me.  We experimented together and we all loved it.

I remembered this process as April rolled around my first year as a principal.  Of course, I was overwhelmed and I felt lost because everything was new.   The risk I took paid dividends I would never have imagined. I discovered Twitter that winter and came across thousands of ideas.  Twitter led to countless connections, a new amazing learning network, where people shared ideas I never dreamed possible, and soon my world became larger and smaller at the same time!  I started a blog, a social media page, augmented reality in our art show, and used the Smore platform for my newsletters.  I never looked back😃
Every year, I remind myself and the staff to think ahead and give yourself permission to challenge yourself to  try out new ideas.  Don’t be afraid to take a chance you have been thinking about and it’s okay to fail, to alter, and hit a home run!
lastbell
My risk this year was to jump into creating a genius hour for the staff.  My goal was to give time to share ideas and learn new techniques, so that we can share this process with all our  students in the Fall! I created a hyper doc, which I learned at an Edcamp, and linked google hangout to model distance learning.  We were all set to go, but our internet slowed down, and we had to go back to modeling the doc in the room.  The days after, I received great feedback and lots of excitement.  They saw my risk of a google hangout failed, but it was okay.  We can only grow when we fail.
I challenge you to implement a new idea and challenge yourself to fail… it’s okay😃
MikeReal.JPGMike Leander is the principal of the Athol Community Elementary School in central MA. ACES, a PK-4 school, just opened its doors for its inaugural year in 2016-2017. He enjoys creating lifetime experiences for kids. He is a husband and a dad to four children. You can connect with Mike on his blog Mleander823.com, through Twitter @mleander23 or through Voxer. #characterfirst
Are you interested in sharing your ideas, insights and questions? If so, click here to sign up for a post. Julie Vincentsen, Principal of Ruggles Lane School, will reach out with specifics. Are you interested but nervous because you’ve never blogged before and don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry – as long as you know how to use Microsoft Word you will be up to this challenge. We write for our communities all the time – this just changes your audience. You probably could even take a current newsletter you’ve written and repurpose it for your colleagues!
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