So it is the beginning of a new school year: new term, new classrooms (maybe), new pupils, new wardrobe… and hopefully a new you, right? While we are still caught up in the euphoria of a new session, excited about making an impact on the lives of our children and being a totally better person all session let me throw this question at us; have we gone out of our ways to set goals for ourselves, our children, personal growth and development this new school year and term?
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a goal is a terminal point of a race or the end towards which effort is directed. Both definitions point towards an end/destination and process to get there. Other words that can be used are desire, intent, aim and objective. Therefore I believe it is right to say we can only set goals based on what we desire, intend or want for ourselves, our pupils, families and everything that concerns us.
What do we desire to see this new session and term? What is the destination or the end result that you hope to achieve at the nd of this new term and school year?
Is having a goal really important?
Now, imagine for a minute an athlete getting ready to run a race with no finish line (kole werk), what do you think will happen at the end of the day? Your guess is as good as mine; fatigue and frustration will set in.
Bringing it back to our context as early years teachers; running the race of teaching in a term or a school session without a finish line (goals) we are running towards will eventually weigh us down. We run the risk of falling into the monotony of routine and going through the motions. Also, we might end up getting frustrated with ourselves as teachers and beat ourselves up because we’ve not tracked our progress. I am sure you are well aware of the fact that a grouchy and frustrated teacher is no fun for the children.
A goal gives you focus, direction and a sense of ownership towards whatever you do. Therefore, you are taking whatever target has been given or passed down to you and making it your own by breaking them down into goals. I like to see goals as the ROAD MAP to your desired destination.
Like I mentioned earlier, goals can only come after you have created a picture of where you are going to; what you desire for your pupils (most likely based on the developmental goals for their respective ages); your need to grow in your career and the list can go on. I am sure you have noticed by now that I love asking questions, so here goes; what picture do you have in your mind for your children, for your career? What type of teacher will you like to be?
When you’ve answerd these questions, then you can write down your goals ie ROAD MAP to your vision.
A few points to remember about goals:
– Specific: Your goals should be specific and simple. Always think particular areas, skills or need. For instance, a personal development goal can be based on a need or an area you are lacking such as personal relation with colleagues.
– Measurable: You should be able to measure your goal, hence a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself is how you will know your goal has been achieved.
– Achievable: Please set goals that are attainable. You want your goals to motivate and not overwhelm you
– Realistic: Your goals should be based on what you can do or achieve with your present resources all things being equal. You will be setting yourself up for failure and frustration if you set unrealistic goals.
– Time-bound: Your goals should be time-bound i.e. have an end date. A goal without an end date might fall prey to the monster of procrastination and I bet we do not want that.
- When setting goals for your pupils, their interests and well being should remain the primary focus. Remember we are here for the children and “whatever” works for them should be what should guide us
- While your goals should reflect learning expectations, look beyond the academic achievement to the holistic development of the child. Therefore your golas should be all round.
- LOOK at your goals frequently, remind yourself of what you have set before you. Remember your goals are your roadmap and no one embarks on a journey without a roadmap.
There you have it; go set yourself some goals for this new school year and term!
To kick start this process for you, you can download the FREE template to use as a guide. Kindly leave a comment!
HAPPY NEW TERM!!!