I just read a post by an educator, Tom Whitby, who I have known for about 6 years and have only met once. His post was entitled Year End Resolution Failure and, as the name implies, looked at why we so often fail at meeting our New Year’s Resolutions.
His premise was that we should all just pick one thing that we commit to doing or changing this coming year. This makes it easier for us to be successful with our goal. So if I decide to follow his lead and only pick one thing to commit to this year, what would it be?
In 2014 I will be helping teachers, more than ever before, by sharing what I have learned about project based learning. I have several irons in the fire as I head in that direction. My possible goals, then, will be related to this mantle I carry.
The first is the completion of our 2nd year at Decker Middle School (DMS) with the New Tech Network (NTN). In their eyes, we haven’t moved far enough in the direction they desired us to move. For this I could dedicate myself to being a stronger advocate for all things NTN.
The second is that I will be working in my first full year as a Buck Institute for Education (BIE) National Faculty member. I have tons to learn about facilitating groups of teachers new to PBL and who face obstacles of every shape and size in their path from conventional classroom teacher to facilitator of learning in the PBL classroom. For this I could strive to learn everything I can about how BIE’s message is best conveyed.
Thirdly, I will be working with our teachers at DMS as their instructional coach. We want each of them completing PBL projects within the first month of school. To help with this, I could up my game and make sure I am in their classrooms more and offer to model classroom teaching for them as we try new and different teaching methods.
Fourthly, I will be working on, and hopefully completing, a book with Telannia Norfar this year. The book is PBL-based and we started working on it 6 months ago. I want to be near the 10,000 word mark when we go back to school on January 6th. That will be one fourth to one sixth of where we need to be when it is completed. To meet the completion goal, I could dedicate myself to writing, at least, 4 times a week. Or I could shoot for a word count of, say, 500 words a week.
Lastly, and not obviously related, I will be turning 56 next week. I’m obese. I’m starting to have health problems because of my weight. I need to lose about 60 pounds and I need to be physically active. I could dedicate myself to setting up a workout schedule and an eating plan to help me meet those goals. The only draw back I see is that EVERYONE says they want to lose weight and get in shape for their New Year’s resolution. I hate doing things that everyone else is doing.
So, if I only had to pick one goal, which would it be? The obvious one, to me, is for me to regain my health and fitness. If I’m not able to help teachers or my family because I’m dealing with chronic health issues then I can’t do any part of the first four items on my list. It’s amazing how scary something as routine as working out can be when you’ve been a toad for a few years. I used to…(do a lot of things), but not anymore.
As I progress with my posts during the upcoming year, look for updates on my workout plan. There may be less educator stuff and more healthy habit stuff for a while but, hang in there and I’ll be back to my old self in a matter of no time (or a few years – it took me years to put on this tonnage and it won’t come off overnight). I hope you all have a wonderful 2014 and that you learn a ton.