New Podcast: Passionate Goal Writing

EPSD PD PODCAST Episode 9: Passionate Goal Writing

This latest episode offers 5 tips for putting passion into your goal writing. Inspired by chapter 8 of Dan and Chip Heath’s book The Power of Moments, I offer some suggestions to educators how these ideas can be applied to goals that improve student achievement.

Tip #1

Make sure it is something you are passionate about and care about deeply. Invest some time really reflecting about what makes you really motivated.  After writing your goal ask yourself these questions:

  1. How will I feel when I have completed my goal?
  2. How will I feel if I don’t achieve this goal?

If thinking about the prospect of achieving this goal fills you with joy and excitement and thinking of the prospect of not achieving this goal puts a pit in your stomach, then it is a good goal and you will achieve it. 

Tip # 2

Set milestones along the way and level them up, meaning make them more challenging along the way. 
In The Power of Moments the Heath brothers talk about why video games are so motivating because you achieve levels and then when you accomplish a level you get to level up, and then level up again, and again always feeling a greater sense of accomplishment and then getting the next challenge.  Do the same with the actions steps and milestones you set in your goals. For example, your first milestone may be to have students reflect on the feedback you give them, the second may be to have them assess their own writing and give self feedback, the third may be to have them provide feedback to a peers. Keep leveling up and by the end students have completed a self assessment portfolio of how they have met all 10 learning targets.

Tip #3

Make your milestones passionate measures that fill you with pride. 

Consider my guitar goal. What if I take those same milestones but now write with meaningful measures that will fill me with pride. Consider these milestones:

  1. A student tell me how much they learned or that they did something they never thought they could do.
  2. See one of my students with disabilities celebrate after a big accomplishment in class. 
  3. Students compare a sample of student work from August with a sample of student work on October and celebrate the improvements with my students.
  4. Hear a student turn a negative self-talk comment about themselves and their abilities into a positive one.
  5. See one of my English Language learners get over a learning barrier independently and smile with pride.
  6. Receive a compliment from my evaluator after they walk through my room. 
  7. Receive a glowing thank you from a parent for how much they feel their son/daughter is learning in class.
  8. Students gather an artifact for each of the learning targets that show their best work.
  9. Host an end of year achievement celebration with my students to celebrate learning.

Tip #4

Every time you reach one of these milestones treat yourself!     Since you have set milestones that are passionate, there is going to be an intrinsic reward and sense of accomplishment already, but what gift do you want to give yourself when you reach your milestone?

Tip # 5

Write your goals down.  I mean don’t just write it down, but post it somewhere where you will see it every day! Make them visible.  You can do this digitally too! You could set a reminder on your device to remind you of your goals each week. How about setting your browser to open immediately to your goals? Find what works for you whether that is physically posting them or digitally posting them, but make sure you see them frequently and make them visible.

One final bonus tip that I will leave you with is this … Share your goals with others.  Talk about them. Find a colleague who will support your efforts and share your celebrations with them.  Share your celebrations with your instructional coach, PLC teams, or evaluator. 

I am sharing a few of my goals with you! See how I attempted these tips here.

Resource: Goal Writing Template

Published by Ruby Bode

Assistant superintendent of Estes Park School District.

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