10 June 2014

On ACCOMPLISHING Goals and Success

I don't know if I'm unique in the classroom about this as it pertains to technology integration and innovation, but sometimes I find myself trying to get my hands in so many pots and spin so many plates that I don't actually accomplish anything of value. The way this manifests in my lesson plans with regards to technology is that I'll get lots of new ideas, and I'll pilot a lot of tools on a small scale, but I won't commit to anything for long enough to produce tangible products to share with colleagues who want to see examples before they're willing to try something new (unvetted).

I focused on not doing that this past semester, and I think I was able to sway a few of my colleagues closer to trying it out for themselves (see my posts about paperslide music videos and my elaborately schemed fake Google Sketch-up area project for more info). Being able to show off some student work, reflecting on some parts of the design that didn't go so well, and having a clearer vision for the next way I was going to do that project was really helpful in articulating to my colleagues why and how integrating the same on their classroom would work.

This principle works in curriculum, as well, which is why your district has probably identified "priority standards" for your course. The common teacher complaint that we can't do EVERYTHING is, of course, true. The blog post going viral from a 4 time teacher of the year that was sharing his reasons for leaving the classroom also quotes something like this: "In my 6 years in the classroom I've had lots of programs and mandates added on, but I've never had anything taken away." If you feel that way, too, then I don't think you have practically accepted the purpose of those priority standards. 

And don't we all see this in our personal lives? It's rare to feel much fulfillment out of the evening or weekend in which we did a lot of STUFF, but when you do a few things well in a weekend, those are the ones that refresh and recharge you emotionally.

Stop trying to do everything, simplify your life's busyness to only what you can commit to fully investing in, and do them with purpose.

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Thanks for sharing!