Sunday, September 18, 2011

Goals 2011-12

Every year, I ask Karl for focused goals regarding areas I can improve in my teaching and learning. This year, as with all years, he didn't fail to challenge me. And this year, I didn't have to ask. They were there waiting for me on the first day!

1. Share the passion. I love teaching. I love my classes. I love showing the kids the possibilities that reside within each one of them. I couldn't ask for a better job (better pay, yes), but not a better job. I think what I need to focus on is not just showing my kids the passion for learning, but to show my colleagues as well. Often I feel there is a lot of resistance to what I do and how I do it, but this year, I sense a shift in the tide. New teacher=new attitudes. I am loving life!
2. What is truly essential for your students? Do the rest if you have to , but don't sweat it because it doesn't matter. What do I want my students to know and be able to do? I want them to be intellectual giants for the world. I want them to be articulate and persuasive speakers. Thoughtful and contemplative thinkers. Challenging question askers. In-depth connection makers. Devoted collaborators. Intense listeners. And all around nice kids. I want me kids to see there are endless possibilities in the world around them. I want them to firmly believe they can make a difference in the world and that I am there to help them do it. The rest...doesn't matter.
3. Failure is (almost) not an option. Encourage, cajole, berate, hassle, joke-let them know that they will succeed in your class; that you're not going to let them off the hook.This is right up my alley. The NO D policy I uphold in my all-boys class underwent a little revision this summer- I returned the policy back to its original state the first year I implemented it. We are doing well, but I am still not reaching them all. Some simply do not want to do homework. How to reach them all is the question? How to hold them responsible yet give them space to grow, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. How can I balance my expectations of work turned in on time, with all my other classes, and not allow myself to fall into a grading nightmare. How can I reach all the kids?
4. Be bold. Why not?

My addition to the goals:
5. Be a communicator. Communicate successes and failures. Communicate with my students in class and out of class. Get to know each kid's passion. Communicate with my students' parents. They want to know what is going on, let them in. Communicate with my colleagues. Be open to listening and sharing. Communicate with the blogosphere.

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