Setting Goals for YOUR School Year

For many of you, I imagine hearing the word “goals” can be potentially triggering. Ensuring your student’s IEP goals are quality, meaningful and achievable goals is a ginormous part of this job. While it is your job to help each of your students meet their annual goals, I want to take a moment to think about you. As you enter this new school year and dive into the inevitable whirlwind of putting every single human’s needs before your own, I want to encourage you to create goals of your own. You too deserve to have quality, meaningful and achievable goals to work towards this school year.

Reflect & Brainstorm


This is the fun part; the sky’s the limit! Just like our students have different areas of improvement, so can you. As you reflect on previous school years, or even your summer vacation, what is it that you want to improve in your daily life? Perhaps you want to leave work closer to the end of your contracted time. Maybe you want to actually take your plan time. Heck, maybe you just need to swap your coffee for more water during the day. You. Do. You. Jot down 3-5 goals that you believe will improve your overall happiness and growth as an educator and an individual. 

Build Benchmarks


Rome wasn’t built in a day, little Jimmy didn’t learn CVC words in a day, and you will not leave work at 4:00 PM on the dot the first week of school. Look at your goals and break them down just like we do with our students. Align your benchmarks with the end of each quarter and monitor your growth at the same time as you do your progress notes. Just as you do with your students, create achievable benchmarks that will build you up as you inch along. 


If your goal is to take your hour-long plan time, then break it up in a way that will be more achievable. Aim to take 20 minutes to yourself, then 30, and so on and so forth. If you get to the end of the quarter and you realize you’re average 12 minutes of plan time per day, don’t beat yourself up. Just acknowledge that you deserve that time (literally and legally) and it’s time to pivot to meet that benchmark next time around! 


Create Accountability


While making these goals may seem silly or pointless, I’m here to remind you that they matter. It can be hard to feel like you are personally growing in a field that requires so much attention to the growth of others. Hold yourself accountable and remind yourself that you created these goals for a reason. At one point in time you believed that you would be a better version of yourself if these took effect. May I even encourage you to give yourself a little incentive? Meet the benchmark/goal, get that cute planner or pair of shoes you’ve been eying? Have uninterrupted Ollie time? Don’t have to tell me twice. Happy growing, friends; and may you have the best school year yet!

Reagan Strange, MSEd
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