goal setting

R – I am reaaaaallllly tempted to hate goal setting. Not in a “I gotta sit down and do this and I don’t wanna” kind of way, but it just seems like every Fall that’s what we all get in the habit of doing and it simply gets… old. I set goals and then I spend time whining about other things. Doesn’t it seem that way for all of us sometimes? Past goal settings of mine have gone something like this:

* My second year of teaching: I am going to get more acclimated with better literature for my students. I am going to work on my piano skills. I am going to concentrate on more professional development. I am not going to allow my students to get the best of me this year.

* Year 4 of teaching: I am going to get more acclimated with better literature for my students. I am going to work on my piano skills. I am going to concentrate on more professional development. I am not going to allow nearly as many of my students (and their parents) to get the best of me.

* Year 6 of teaching: I am going to get more acclimated with better literature for my students. I am going to work on my piano skills. I am going to concentrate on more professional development. When my students and their parents get the best of me, I will hum softly to myself while eating Ben & Jerry’s and dream of warm islands in the Caribbean.

* Year 8 of teaching: I am going to get more acclimated with better literature for my students. I am going to work on my piano skills. I am going to concentrate on more professional development. I am going to go at least 7 days over the course of the school year where my students, parents, administrators and/or school board members will not get the best of me. I will also aim to get fewer speeding tickets driving home from school this year.

* Year 10: I will walk out of my office and show my face to the world at least twice daily without trembling.

Okay, so I’m over-exaggerating a bit, but do you see any similarities here with what your goal settings have been in the past? There can often be a dull redundancy in this exercise (or is it “exorcise”?!!), all the while knowing that within a few weeks of the opening of school, we’re all back in a reactive mode to whatever is shaking in our schools and districts. So it’s time to stop this exercise of goal setting right? Well, I still do it anyway. At this point in my career though, I really only have one primary goal each year, and that is to internalize a quote by the great teacher Howard Swan:

“Those of us who work in the classroom or in the concert hall will be required not only to be fine musicians but also educators, planners, listeners, interpreters, communicators and sincere lovers of everything in this world that is beautiful. And the ‘everything’ includes people – who are the most beautiful and wonderful of all things that inhabit this globe.”

If I accomplish this goal, with every person I come across, every subsequent goal I set will be better off for it, and significantly better aligned. We are here for our students first and foremost, and we have a deep obligation to foster them – and their parents and our colleagues and administrators, etc – as people. Perhaps you’ll find this a helpful perspective as well as you continue through the beginning of your own school year.

4

This entry was posted in Etcetera, Rehearsal. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s