Every year on January 1st, I sit down with a piece of paper and write out my goals for the new year. That’s right, I said “goals” – plural. I know technically we’re only supposed to make one resolution for the new year, but I like to shoot for the stars. Once I’ve accumulated a nice list, I’ll leave it somewhere I’m bound to notice, and throughout the year I’ll regularly check in to gauge my progress and recommit to their achievement. You’d be surprised at what I’ve managed to accomplish through this exercise!

While the new year is still months away the new school year is just beginning. Given the hectic events we’ve all been through, I can understand if many teachers simply want to focus on the here and now. COVID-19 completely changed the landscape of education, and in all honesty, we’re still playing catch-up to what we lost during 2020. But I want to encourage you to shoot for the stars. We have a unique opportunity to make an impact on our students, so why not strive to reach those goals we’ve always dreamed of, but never had the heart to pursue?

At some point this week, I encourage you to find a quiet place where you can sit down and write out your goals for the school year. When you do, here are just a few things to remember:

  • Be Fearless: Most of us want to be practical when we make our goals. We aim for the low-hanging fruit and leave our loftier dreams on the tree. This school year, allow yourself to reach for those unreachable goals. Think of that lesson you’ve always wanted to teach, that policy you’ve always wanted to champion, and resolve to go for it. The truth is that impossible things are happening every day, we simply need to try.
  • Accept Failure: It might surprise you to know that when I make my goal list in January, I do it with the full knowledge that I’m going to fail. I know that I’m not going to achieve everything. I’m also aware that the things I do manage to cross off might not bring the results I hoped for. And that’s ok. Every educator knows that failure is a part of learning. Failing allows us to reflect, reassess, and move forward with new information and insight. The same should be true for your goals.  
  • Be Consistent: I’m sure you’re familiar with that old quote, “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” The reality is that reaching for the stars won’t do much good if you’re not consistent in your efforts. Remember to check in with your goals regularly and gauge your progress. Keep the list somewhere visible so they never get forgotten, and don’t be afraid to bring in an accountability partner who will help you stay on task. As teachers, we know that nothing gets accomplished without a bit of hard work!
  • Celebrate Your Wins: I don’t know about you, but I have trouble celebrating when I’ve made an accomplishment. It’s so easy to jump from one project to the next that we barely congratulate ourselves on a job well done. So, when you do manage to cross off one of your goals this year, remember to take the time and celebrate. Buy yourself a sweet treat. Share the news with your friends or take a day to revel in your success. Hard work deserves to be rewarded, so make sure to give yourself that time.

The new school year is well underway, and the potential of your classrooms is practically limitless. So let yourself be excited for the coming months. Embrace that spirit of anticipation and dare yourself to shoot for the stars. Who knows? You may find that what you and your classroom achieve goes beyond your wildest expectations!

For more free educational resources, check out out these teacher-tested strategies from Blue Apple! 

*Image courtesy of Mathias Krumbholz via Wikimedia Commons.