I have been doing a lot of reading lately, especially in the area of achieving success. I want to be able to use my blog to help more teachers find success in the classroom, so I’ve been studying up.
We all want to be successful. We all want to feel that we have accomplished something important or we’ve met a big goal in our career or in any area of our lives.
I know I do.
One of the most important steps in finding success is creating goals for ourselves.
It’s no different in the classroom.
I believe that in order to have success in the classroom, a teacher needs to start with some clear and measurable goals for the class.
What kind of goals do we set?
I like to think big. I want to set what I call, “crazy” goals.
To have crazy success, you have to have crazy goals. You have to think beyond the ordinary.
When we make crazy goals, we move from ordinary to extraordinary.
So, what is your crazy goal for this year? For this month? For this week?
Here’s an example:
Let’s say that your crazy goal is that all your students will pass your class with at least a C.
Maybe for some of you that’s not too crazy of a goal, but I know some of you are saying, “That’s an impossible goal, Sam. You don’t know my kids.”
We’re thinking big. Remember?
It’s just an example, but I believe it’s a good example to use, since our success in the classroom is often based on how well our students do. If a teacher can show that not one of his/her students received lower than a C, that is one big measure of success in the classroom.
I remember when I was a new teacher, and my kids were not passing my class, one of the veteran teachers would tell me, “It’s not your fault. You don’t fail the kids. They choose to fail.” This made me feel better, but not by much. I didn’t want any of my students to fail. That meant that they didn’t learn. Wasn’t that what I was there for? Wasn’t it my job to make sure they learn? I wish I knew then what I know now about goal setting. I would have been so much more successful a lot earlier in my career.
I want you to find that success.
So what’s next, Sam?
So, assuming you’ve adopted this goal of having all your students pass your class with a C or better, we need to answer three questions.
- How do you determine if you have reached your crazy goal?
- What system is in place to monitor your progress toward your crazy goal?
- What action steps do you take to insure that this goal is met?
Answering the first question is easy. At the end of the trimester or semester or year, all you have to do is check the grade book to see if you’ve met your crazy goal.
The next question takes a little more work. You need to have a system in place where you can monitor your progress on reaching your crazy goal. If you just wait until the end of the grading period to see if you’ve met your goal, most likely you won’t find good results.
In our example, a goal monitoring system might look like this:
- Every Friday, you scan your grade book to see if any students are getting a C or lower.
- You highlight these students or make a list of them somewhere.
- You determine why those students are struggling. (missing assignments, low test scores, etc.)
This has to become a routine. It has to be part of your Crazy Goal Plan. As you probably have figured out already, if you do not monitor your students on a regular basis, you’re not going to meet your crazy goal. You’re going to have to add this monitoring time to your calendar. It can’t be, “I’ll check when I have time.” Successful people block out time in their calendar to do what is most important to reach their goal. You have to do the same. This block of time has to be defended from outside interruptions. This is tough for teachers, I know, but you’ve made a crazy goal. Reaching crazy goals requires crazy dedication.
The third question – action steps – is where the magic happens. It’s also where many teachers fail to meet their goals.
Once you’ve identified the students who are falling below the C mark, it’s time to do something about it.
What are your actions steps?
Yes, it means more time and effort on your part, but you are on a mission to meet your crazy goal, because you know that if you are successful at meeting your goal, you will have succeeded in helping every student find their success.
Here are some possible action steps to take:
- One-on-one meeting with the students.
- Extra tutoring before school, after school or at lunch for just the students on your list.
- Parent contact.
You know what needs to be done to reach these students. You are experts in student learning. Be creative.
Here are some suggestions to help you meet your crazy goal:
- Partner with someone to help keep you accountable. This can be a colleague, a spouse, or an administrator. Tell them about your crazy goal, and ask them to check in with you from time to time.
- Share your crazy goal with the world. Post your crazy goal on Facebook. You know it’s going to be embarrassing if, at the end of the year, you have to post that you didn’t meet your goal.
- Write your crazy goal down, and post it in different places where you’ll see it every day. Goals are easy to forget.
I have a crazy goal for this year. My crazy goal is to write 100 posts on the SITC blog that will help teachers meet their goal of success in the classroom. There – I’ve shared it with the world. Now I have to meet my crazy goal.
This is post #14 of 100, so I’m still on track to reach this goal, but I have to pick it up a little.
*Update on my goal
Alright. I know I made a goal to upload 100 post to this blog. I know I made it one of my crazy goals. Now I have to update it, but not because I can’t. It’s because I have been reading a lot about leadership in order to be a better school administrator. I still will have the goal of 100 posts by the end of the year, but I’m going to include the posts that I add to my other blog for school administrators: SchoolAdministrationMastery.com.
I hope you don’t hold that against me. : )
Now it’s your turn.
Go make crazy goals! I would love to hear what crazy goal you are going to create for your class, so please share.
Until next time, here’s to your Success in the Classroom!