The new year always brings a fresh perspective and new challenges. I love to sit back during this busy time of year and take a look back at where my students have been this year and where we’re headed, both as a class and as individuals. And, with that, I take a new look at our class's goals.
My school district is very goal-driven. Teachers and students alike create goals during the school year and we all map out what we will do to meet those goals. It’s not always easy, but I look for creative ways to help my students understand what the goal-setting process is all about.
I’m a runner and I have a specific goal of what I’d like to accomplish—a marathon. This requires training, just as students must “train” to meet their academic goals. I’ve mapped out for my students what I’m doing to achieve my goal, both short- and long-term, going as far as writing down the miles I run every day for them. Then we talk about how I can’t expect to not run, then go out one day and run 26 miles. Just as my students can’t expect to not do their homework or not study, then expect to meet the expectations at the end of the year.
As you head into this school year’s “home stretch” in January, set some goals for yourself—both personal and professional. Share them with your students. Then talk to them regularly about what you’re doing to meet those goals.
Similarly, have your students set their own goals. Give each student a manila folder with a goal sheet stapled inside. Have each student write down one personal and one academic goal using a template. Collect the folders for safe keeping, but review them with your students at least once a week. Are they doing what they said they needed to do? Did they meet their goals? If you have a class goal, display it prominently for everyone to see to encourage students to reach it.
Meeting specific goals boosts the self-confidence of everyone involved and paves the way for future success. For more information on setting goals, check out this Goal Setting Guide.