This is a pretty self-centered post, but I hope it provides a model for successful goal setting by thinking big picture but aiming for manageable short term goals.
I am not a fan of “resolutions”. It almost feels like the whole world goes crazy with all of the ideal lifestyle changes that we will do simply because another number on the dial of time has rolled over. I try to set realistic goals in the hopes of actually achieving them. If you are one of those people who is quitting smoking, going on a diet, and buying a gym membership – “good luck” to you, but swinging for the fences on a new year’s resolution just doesn’t work for me. I also like to keep my eye on the short term – year long goals are great but I need some short term goals as a source of frequent positive feedback. I look at weekly and monthly goals and a shorter term finish line. Meeting my goals builds confidence and helps me update/upgrade my goals more often. Plus, I get bored.
Personal Goal: Wake up a little earlier and do “something” to break a sweat. That’s all. No big growth goal or anything, just a little goal to start a habit. No marathon dreams yet, not huge weight loss number to shot for. I know I will be sore and tired from this little act but the small short term goal will help me keep it up one week at a time. At the end of each week, I might add in some new challenge as I have success.
Professional Goal 1: Spend more time with students. Last year I put out a mini-get to know you survey for my 435 students and I met with almost each student individually during the first semester. This year has been different with adapting to some new things and I kept putting that activity off. Of course I am still meeting kids and building relationships but I liked the intentionality of forcing myself to meet with each student. I will work out a plan with a teacher on each team to meet with kids in small groups – so it is more manageable (they’ll fill out a personal information form prior for me to skin as we meet). I am thinking 12-15 kids per class and rotate them through a student survey and a get to know you type conversation. This means that I will really be meeting with 6-8 kids for half of a class and switching halfway through so thy can complete the survey. This way I can have 20 minutes with a small group of kids and have that interaction with each one of the 450 kids in 6 busy days. The goal is really all about the student: getting to know them, their interests, their goals, their opinions on school, and building some positive rapport. This small meeting also makes them feel special. To me, the students are the best part of being in the education profession and it is a joy building relationships with them. The beginning of a semester is a particularly good time to do this because the discipline demand on my time is slightly lower – we are starting anew, basically.
Professional Goal 2: Out of necessity (as part of the teacher evaluation model), I need to briefly observe each teacher once a month and have a feedback meeting with them within 24 hours. I will create a schedule to ensure that I meet a weekly goal. If I can complete five a week, I will be ahead of pace. I can reflect on my progress weekly and make sure I hit my goals. I can get three done in a single day and still do a quality observation.
I have team goals too, we need to strengthen our Interdisciplinary Unit work and I have ideas to make that happen (smaller scale units/teaming). Instead of trying to get three teachers to plan a complex unit – I might work with two teachers to build a collaborative unit. We also have been working to strengthen our special education delivery model. That has been a huge effort and has taken much of my time, but we are on the right track to get stronger in that area.
So. on a weekly basis – I need to reflect on…
1) did I show up to exercise each day?
2) did I meet with all kids from one of the teams during those pre-planned two days? This goal can be completed in three weeks!
3) did I complete 5 observations and conferences?
4) did I keep the focus and provide assistance to make more interdisciplinary units happen?
5) did I monitor our implementation of Co-teaching and accommodations among our sped students?
If I can meet these goals each week – it will be a hugely successful semester. I’ll try to post a weekly goal update – as part of my plan.