Moving Forward After Everything Came Crumbling Down!

Submitted by Elaine Mendez, @Elemcoach, See more of Elaine's writing at

I can fall twenty times, but I will always get back up.

"One of those days!" 

"What does that even mean?"

Oh you know, nothing seems to go your way. Your good ideas seem to be washed down the drain. What you thought would be a hit, barely gets a reaction. Past experiences hinder forward movement. Someone's actions create an internal storm that just makes everything you've worked so hard to cultivate violently come crumbling down. 

Meanwhile, you... well.... you feel like eating a pint of ice cream. 

Did I stumble? Ummmm, I think it was more like I fell down three flights of stairs type of thing! While I didn't go get that pint of ice cream, I did have some Halloween candy instead! 

Seriously though, I didn't let the outcomes of this week keep me down. I had a pep talk with someone I admire, I went online did some research on things that make my heart content, created my #CelebrateMonday newsletter, and went home to enjoy the evening with my daughters. 

Today, I got up just as excited as I have been these past few weeks and attended another #EdCamp. I once again feel balanced and all is good in my universe. As I reflect on the events of this week, I realize that this is all part of the process. 

In order to grow, you must experience failure. If you take the time to go over the reasons why things didn't go according to plan, to look at possible alternatives, to learn from your mistakes, you'll grow as both an individual and a professional. 

How Can Teachers Fail Forward:

That's a great question! The trick to #failingfoward is taking risks! Don't worry about the what ifs! If you have an idea, execute it! If it doesn't work, tweak it! Last year, our district got these amazing new Smart TVs for our classrooms. I had no idea how to operate the device, let alone, effectively utilize it to enhance instruction. I didn't let the fear of letting my students know this stop me from using it. I looked at them and said "Dudes and Dudettes (that's my term of endearment for them), WE are going to learn to use the TV as part of our reading block instruction. Are you with me?" Needless to say, the kids were extremely excited to help me with this new learning experience. 

Was it difficult? Totally! I botched a couple of lessons because I managed to zoom into everything so many times. And, I can't tell you the number of times I forgot to use the overlay to be able to write. I didn't quit using the Smart TV though. I learned through trial and error. The cool thing about the whole process is that the children became my roadmap. They reminded me to push that button and to click on that link. Learning to use the Smart TV became a fun and interactive WHOLE group process. We all worked together.

So teachers, administrators, educators remembering that you are not alone is key. Engage your students, colleagues, partners in the learning process. Ask for help, clarification, and support when things are not clear. Find your tribe and rely on them. 

Failing forward builds character and courage.  It creates the resiliency necessary to persevere in difficult and uncomfortable situations. This is why they say that "all things are difficult before they are easy." I believe in myself and my ability to share my passion for educating with others. I can fall twenty times, but I will always get back up.

I am looking forward to next week! 

Peace and love, 

Elaine Mendez, after a decade of teaching is excited about being the Instructional Coach for Belleville Public Schools. She loves books, reading, and coordinating professional development for herself and others. Additionally, she is very passionate about creating learning environments where students are free to take risks, speak up, and make connections to the world around them. We invite you to continue to follow her stories at