Susan Riley | November 2015

Episode 32: What to Do When the Project Flops

Remember the moment when something you did went horribly wrong?  Maybe it was that huge lesson that you put together only to have it disintegrate in front of your eyes during an observation from your principal.  Or, maybe it was the curriculum project you worked on for 6 months only to have all of the teachers in your district throw it in the trash.  Failure never feels good.

After a HUGE year of ups and downs here at EdCloset, I know a thing or two about project flops.  After a recent planning session for 2016, I noticed that almost 50% of what we tried in 2015 failed. That also means that there was 50% of our projects that were big successes.  It’s easy to share the stuff that goes right, but it can be mortifying to show people all the mistakes it took to get there.

In today’s episode, I’m opening the curtain to let you inside our biggest flops and failures of 2015 so that you can learn from our mistakes when it comes to taking chances.  Some of our failures were really painful (and I’m still smarting a bit from them), and others were mini course-corrects.  But my team and I have learned from every single one – big and small – and can now focus our energy on moving forward.  And if we can do it, you can too!

The biggest lesson out of 2015 for us?  That there is a process for picking yourself up and moving on.  Tune in to hear the steps I take to de-personalize the flop, learn from it and use it to plant the seeds of future success.  Don’t let the fear of failure stand in your way!


Here’s a few links to the resources shared in today’s show:

The “Project Post-Mortem” Worksheet

Our online class series

The Arts Integration and STEAM Online Conference

And if you need a little inspiration, try this TED Talk from JK Rowling on “The Fringe Benefits of Failure

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan