Aug 29, 2011
Comments Off on September Syndrome – My Attempt to Avoid It

September Syndrome – My Attempt to Avoid It

Time to sharpen the pencils. We’ll be in the thick of things before you know it. And I can’t wait.

There is something about the wrap up of September that excites me. One of the many reasons I love this job. Every September we can refocus, declare our direction and set our trail. New chances for everyone, students and teachers.

As a student, I loved September too. Every year, I convinced myself that this would be the year of underlining my date, staying organized, doing all my homework and getting straight ‘A’s.  Now, of course, the wheels would inevitably fall off by mid-September. But things are different this time, no really. The goals I laid out for myself last September have been more or less kept.  I re-up my commitment to the education revolution that we are in the midst of having.

Set Goals

My Goals This September

To start:

  • contacting parents more frequently. I’d like to start with three from each class per week. That ensures the connection with their child’s learning is constant and constructive. By trying to hit the number goal, I’ll also be calling regarding more positive things. I’m going to make a concerted effort early to get e-mail addresses for parents as that is the easiest form of communication in my mind.
  • bringing my lunch to school. This is connected to my training for Ironman, in which, keeping good energy is essential. But it is also connected to my desire to maintain my energy throughout the day. I want to be as engaged and passionate at 2:30 as I was at 8:30.
  • sharing more in my building. My reading, my experiences, my thoughts/ideas, the tools that are working. But more importantly, try to get people to share with me more and develop the rich conversations I have online around pedagogy with those folks I’m teaching beside. As I’ve mentioned previously in this blog, I have been encouraged to share more. I think I will. And I’ll hope for my colleagues to share more too.
  • using Evernote with every student to provide feedback. It worked so well in Summer School and the second half of last semester, I will be employing these methods across the board. This tool allows me to provide timely, personal feedback but more importantly, have a reservoir for all that feedback so a student/parent/myself can look back from the beginning of the course and see all the feedback I’ve given.
  • keeping an organized calendar. This will be essential as I am always busy, but with Ironman training as well, this year will be madness. This is one of the goals I’ve tried before, but this year it will be even more essential.  Keeping a calendar will allow me to maximize my time working towards my why.
  • choosing the right battle. My father always told me to, “Pick my battles.” This is the year, I stop picking the wrong ones and I stay focused on those that are most important. Too often I get mired down in the small battles that cost much and accomplish little.
  • answering emails promptly. I’m one of the world’s worst for receiving an e-mail, reading it and planning on responding later. Of course, that inevitably leads me to forget about it and never respond. This September, I am going to stop waiting for tomorrow what can be done today, especially around e-mail.

To remember:

  • my daily gratitude notes again. I once heard an interview with Seth Godin and he was asked, “What is the most important thing you could do today to make the biggest change?” and his response, “Say thank you to someone every day.”  I employed this idea a year ago when I left a thank you note in someone’s mailbox every day. I fell off the wagon last year, but it is time for me to start again.
  • “It is not what has been taken from you, but what you do with what is left.”

To clarify:

  • student’s learning at the end of every class. What have we learned? Why have we learned it? If it is minor or major does’t matter, I think clarifying what we are doing every day will help us prepare to learn for the next day.
  • the why, every time it gets muddled.

To unlearn:

  • the role of the teacher, student and administrator.
  • the door of the classroom.
  • the either/or frame of thinking and embrace the both/and. (A blog post dedicated to this concept and my thoughts around it is coming.)

And there they are. As with any goal setting, I’ll be constantly adding, revising, removing these as I buffet in the wind, but this list will help fix my direction and help me set my sails.

What are your goals for the year?

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