I just want into my music room so that I can get some things done. I want to start making plans and putting displays up on walls and unpacking boxes. But… I can’t. So, I’m going to try and focus all that “New Year” energy and make personal plans for the new year. And the more I think about it, this is probably a good thing. Often we get so focused on creating that amazing showstopper bulletin board or crafting the perfect first week lessons that we forget that we are starting a personal journey.
I went on a long run yesterday and it made me think about how a school year is much like a long distance run. If you don’t make plans for the journey, if you don’t set goals or figure out a path, it’s easy to get lost or tired or discouraged. Below are some ideas on how to set achievable goals and prepare yourself for the journey ahead so that you can make the most of your “New Year!”
Set Goals for Yourself and Your Students
So, what goals can you put in that place, that Zone of Proximal Development? What goals can you make that are achievable with professional development, or guidance from another teacher, or help from a book or website? What goals can you make that are slightly past your expertise or comfort zone but that are absolutely within your reach?
Write Down Your Goals and Make them Public
So, here’s my advice. Make good, achievable goals for the new year. Be thoughtful about your goals (keeping your own personal ZPD in mind) and then WRITE THEM DOWN! Seriously, write them down. Put them next to your desk. Put them on pretty paper. Do whatever you need to do to look at them over and over again. Actively work towards meeting your goals. Stretch yourself. Keep thinking through and working through your goals on a weekly basis. You can do it!
When I go running I have the “RunMeter” app that helps me stay on track. It breaks in through my running music playlist every once in a while and tells me how far I’ve run, my pace, my time, and then tells me how much I have left to go before I finish. I love this little reminder because it keeps me on task, reminds me of my goal, and is a little encouragement that I can make it back to my destination. Posting your goals and seeing them over and over is a reminder of what you want and where you’re headed.
Fun Freebie to Help You Set and KEEP Your Goals Alive
To provide you a fun little reminder I came up with these reminder cards (and they’re a FREE download- just click the link on the left!). Print one out, fill it out, and the put it next to your computer or on your desk. Laminate it and stick it right by the front door of your music room. Put it somewhere where you will see it and somewhere where it will encourage you.
A new school year is like a long distance race. It’s not a sprint. It’s not a marathon necessarily. It’s a long distance run and it helps to make your goals and put them somewhere where you can remember them. I encourage you to sit down and think about what you really want to do this year and what things you think you can strive for. If you want, you can email your goals to me! My email is MakeMomentsMatter@gmail.com. Take a picture of your goals on your wall or on your desk and send me an email. I won’t post it publicly but I’d love to provide you with some encouragement and support as you start your journey through the new year!
Alright, lace up those shoes, put on your best running sweatband, make your goals and set your course, and let’s go have some fun!