As we are in the thick of yet another messy presidential election season, I find myself in a contemplative mood. Why are the candidates attacking each other? Why can’t everybody just get along? Why is there such a divide in our country? More than anything though, I wonder, regardless of which candidate becomes our next president, how many of the promises they make will come to fruition? While they set lofty goals for their first term in office, I wonder how many of those goals will actually be met. Do political candidates set themselves up for failure by over-promising and under-delivering? As we know the answer to be yes, my question is why. Why do they set goals that are almost unattainable? Why not set Specific Measureable Attainable Realistic and Timely (SMART) goals instead? If elected officials want American citizens to stay positive and believe in them, then they need to change the way they do business. Political candidates need to set goals that are possible to meet, only promise something that they know they can deliver on, and be honest. Unless political candidates change the way they campaign, then the political landscape that is changing from happy little trees to gray and dead logs will continue to devolve into something much worse.
As an American citizen and someone who cares a lot about the future of our country, I try to model the kind of behavior I feel all people of the world should exhibit: Compassion and Honesty. I don’t make promises I can’t keep. I speak the truth at every turn, and when the truth may hurt, I use empathy and compassion when sharing it. I use kindness to spread the love of learning and spark the flame of curiosity. And when it comes to goal setting, I set SMART goals. If I want my students to go out into the global society to lead meaningful and responsible lives, then I need to be showing them how to do so at all times.
One way I can promote this positive sensibility is through goal setting. As I want my students to constantly be challenging themselves to reflect, grow, fail, learn, and grow some more, I need to be modelling this same growth mindset in and out of the classroom. While my students are working on setting academic goals this week, I feel that it is fitting that I do the same. What are my goals for the 2016-2017 academic year? How do I want to continue to grow and improve as an educator? What kind of teacher do I want to be? What kind of person do I want my students to see when they look at me?
- I want to learn how to better help, support, and challenge the ESL students in my class. Currently, I don’t feel as though I have all of the necessary tools in my resource belt to help the English language learners in my class. I struggle to work with them in a meaningful manner. I feel as though I am hindering the progress of the ESL students in my class and I don’t like feeling that way. So, this year, I’m going on a learning journey. I’m going to talk to colleagues about how they support and help their ESL students. I’m going to read professional development texts on the topic. And, I hope to attend a training session at some point this year as well. I don’t like feeling helpless. I want to feel empowered so that I can better support and challenge those struggling ESL students in my classroom.
- I want to follow-through on all of the new curriculum add-ons I started this year. I don’t want things to fall by the wayside. I want to see them through to the end of the year. I want all of my students to be able to solve the Rubik’s Cube by the close of the year. I want my students to see how the natural world changes over the course of a year. I want my boys to learn how to speak the language of computer coding. Each year, I feel as though I try new things and a few of them only make it about two to three weeks before they fade away. I don’t want that to happen this year. I want to stay with the plan I set over the summer. Every Thursday is Rubik’s Cube time in STEM class. Every Tuesday is Forest Plot day. And every math work period begins with computer coding. To keep me on track, perhaps I should make it a focus to reflect and blog about my progress in this area at least once every few weeks. Maybe this will help keep me better focused on my end-goal.
As I don’t want to set too many goals that I can’t possibly attain like political candidates frequently do, two goals is what I can handle this year. With only these two goals, I can really devote much time and energy to meeting them by the end of the academic year. Rather than struggle to accomplish things throughout the year and feel defeated by June, I want to feel like I’m making progress. I can do two goals. I’m not under-promising, I’m being realistic. I want my students to see the power in effective goal setting, not ineffective goal setting. So, those are my goals for this year. I’m hopeful and excited. Working towards these two targets will help me become the best teacher possible for my students.