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Teaching Opinion

Five Things for Next Year

By Starr Sackstein — June 25, 2017 3 min read
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As a blogger, I’m always in the market for good ideas. And this time of year begs to consider reflection and thoughts about the future.

I recently read a post by Kristy Louden that followed this format and I found it a worthy notion to consider what my five goals for next year are based on my learning from this year.

To that end, this year has been a whirlwind of learning and as previously mentioned, wrought with personal struggle. It is because of that that big changes are on the horizon again.

So it with great excitement, some trepidation, and immense curiosity I run into the next school year.


  1. Building relationships—a huge takeaway from being a new place this year is the necessity to know the players before saying anything crazy. I’m eager to let them know me too, but mostly I want to know what drives them as educators and how we can work together to improve the learning experience for all students. At the end of the day, the students are the reason we come to work each day and so I will be getting to know them as well. Relationships are key to implement change. People need to trust you. As an unknown entity, trust can be complicated. So developing relationships with new colleagues and the community at large will greatly improve my ability to help everyone.

  2. Balance—in addition to starting another new job, I will be returning to school. It has been a while since I’ve attended grad school but I am super psyched. The prospect of getting to learn more and partake in the student experience again, I’m hoping will ground me in my resolve. That being said, my son starts middle school as well, so balance will be of the utmost importance. I’m not always good at making sure to put my own needs first, but this year priorities will need to be clearly set. I’ll be doing this by being very intentional about scheduling and trying to stay present in each new experience. Balance is always a work in progress for me, but I’m not the type to quit at anything, so I will continue to make an effort in this area to ensure my continued happiness and success in both home and career.

  3. Expanding my PLN to surround myself with folks who can help me with learning curve in my new position. I’m reminded of my early teaching career, having gone an alternative route to licensing, I couldn’t have been greener. Sixteen years into my career and I’m fortunate enough to know some of the most incredible thought leaders in their field and having access to that kind of experience will be paramount to my success. Thank you to the leaders who inspire me all of the time: Tony Sinanis, Connie Hamilton, Peter DeWitt, Vicki Day, Jill Berkowicz and Lisa Meade to name a few.

  4. Asking lots of questions. We may say to students that no question is too small to be asked but as adults we don’t usually model the behavior as well as we can. Next year will be a year of questions. I have so much to learn with such a steep learning curve, so I plan on immersing myself in readings and professional conversations in order to do my job as both educator and parent to the best of my ability. Knowing the right resources to obtain this info from is another huge part of my growth for next year.

  5. Leadership growth and risk taking. Although I’ve been a teacher leader for some time, perhaps I haven’t gone far enough with my ability to search the community I work in. With several safe friends as advisors, I plan on helping to innovate the landscape of my learning community by artfully implementing initiatives that will improve learning for students and enhance collaboration. All voices need to be heard in order for everyone’s full potential to be reached.

As every new year begins, so does the adventure. With the same kind of vitality and verve I hope a student in a new school would experience, I eagerly embrace the unknown and greet it head on.

After you’ve had time to reflect on this past school year, what will make your five things for next year? Please share.

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


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