Teaching Profession Opinion

Gearing Up for 2016

By Starr Sackstein — December 29, 2015 2 min read
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How do you top one of the best years of your life?

You hit the ground running in the new year which requires a bit of a wind up before the year begins.

So in this last week of 2015, planning for 2016 is underway and it looks to be a fantastic opportunity for learning and growth for both the students and the teacher.

One important task is setting actionable goals that are manageable and realistic.

Based on where you are right now, what needs to happen next? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where am I now? Take a short inventory of where you left off before the break began. Try to avoid judgement when doing this inventory. Just brainstorm and write it all down. Seeing the inventory is important. Doesn’t matter if you do a web or a list or sketch note, just get it down.
  • Where do you want to see yourself by the end of next year? Really try to visualize the end goal. How does it look? What are the details of success that you want to see happening for you and your students? Make sure to draw a picture or write it down as a narrative but make sure to try to commit to an end result.
  • How can you backward plan from the long term goal to short intermediary accomplishable goals? After determining what success looks like, start to plan backward for the outcome. What will it require to accomplish, one month, one week, one day at a time? The same way you’d plan a unit with the end product in mind, consider this backward design to build on current success.
  • How will I know I’m meeting my goals? Determine what standards you’re looking to reach and make sure to actually cross items off the list once they are achieved. There is nothing more satisfying that seeing a full list with lots of items crossed of it.
  • When should I determine if adjustments need to be made? In every plan, there will always be a need for adjustments, so how do you know when it’s time to let something go and re-assess or to ride it out and give it the necessary time to right itself? Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the same for everyone. Every goal takes time though, so be sure to give each goal its due and when time has passed and little progress seems to be made, then it may be time to readjust or move on.

The key to setting good goals is having a plan and knowing how to read the path along the way. It is easy enough to create a list of New Year’s resolutions that often get abandoned within the month of January because they just aren’t realistic. When setting an action plan for change and success, it is important to actually set a course and know the outcome before you start.

This year, I’d like to write more, push more boundaries, and put more control into the hands of my students. Eventually, I’m headed for a bigger change, I can already feel it. So putting fear aside and taking personal risks to improve my current situation is on the agenda. Of course, I’ll be writing my formal list by hand, to be shared at a later date.

What is your one big goal for this year? How will you accomplish it? Please share

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