I’m so glad I ended last year with a set of goals for this one. Because at the moment, I am feeling nothing but chaos. Nothing but an overwhelming need to shut down. It’s only day two of classes and I’m struggling to wrap my brain around everything that I need to do.

Isn’t it always like that at the beginning of the year? New classes and lessons to prepare, class pages to build, new kids to get to know, new staff to help transition, and along the way finding balance in your life. Time to read a book, exercise, enjoy time with family and friends. Time to wrap your head around everything you need to do.

Chaos by Nicole Quevillon
Chaos by Nicole Quevillon

This image intrigues me. I selected it for the word “chaos” radiating out from the center, but looking closer, I realize how much more there is. Some words positive, some negative, while others neutral. Though I could easily focus on the chaos at the center, I could also zoom in on the positive words. Love. Kiss. Listen. Thank. Feel. Passion. Symphony. Or what about focusing on the other negatives? Cry. Fool. Stare. Hell. Demand.

I guess it’s all about perspective, isn’t it? Whether you choose to focus on the positive or the negative is up to you. Whether I choose to focus on the positive or the negative is up to ME.

This is why I am so glad that I stopped at the end of last year to set goals for this one. These goals remind me to set my priorities straight. I can say no. I can decide which items on the to-do list need to be at the top. I can choose what matters. If I was trying to set those now amidst these early weeks of chaos, I would not know where to start. But I do know, because I did.

So, today I remind myself of those goals:

  1. To blog once a week. Check–or at least getting back into it today.
  2. To tweet and connect with the world. Check–shared three tweets in the last two days.
  3. To learn from twitter. Check–every day a quick scan and a #search every now and then.
  4. To work on giving positive feedback. Check–so far only verbal feedback to students but all have been positive AND specific.
  5. To stay in touch with Tricia. Check–already have a great resource to use next week from her.
dreams and wishes by Nicole Pierce
dreams and wishes by Nicole Pierce

My recommendation when you set your own goals for the year? Find yourself a moment of quiet, steal it if you have to, and in that space dream. Dream up your ideal classroom and what it will take for you to create it. Write down that dream on something beautiful. Why not write a blogpost about it? Then make that dream your priority. Whatever craziness comes your way, interpret it through your dream. Sure, you have to follow school rules and policies, but maybe you can tweak them to make them your own. Return to this dream often. Remind yourself what it was for and why you created it. Make this year your best year, yet.

So, what are your goals? What are your dreams? And what will it take for you to achieve them?

Thank you Flickr and Creative Commons.


One thought on “Perspective

  1. Hi Valerie,
    I’m so honored to get a shout out here. Perspective is something earned and shaped and groomed and cultivated. And, you are right, we need to be intentional. How do we do that? I really think it does come back to the language we use with one another, and with ourselves. I’m trying to break the habit of just asking ‘how are you doing?’ but rather, ask a sincere, focused question to my peers–something that prompts a response beyond ‘busy.’ I’m also trying to avoid saying ‘I’m so busy,’ or ‘what a busy day.’ The thing is, yes, my calendar is full day to day–but that means what I’m doing has relevance. I am lucky to have work that demands so much thought. There are so many people in routine labor jobs that would love to have someone want their insight and creativity. And that makes me think that we need to make school creatively demanding for students too—not routines.

    Our head of campus yesterday offered a session (optional) called ‘the polarity of wellness,’ which so many people here have already spoken to me about. The idea that a campus has a shared language, and shared concepts when it comes to the positivity needed to find balance, and consistently find the motivation needed is something I’m loving. He blogged about a ‘shared definition of learning,’ (find it here:

    People routinely talk about ‘looking for learning,’ and just observing and listening to students.

    Through the ‘noise’ of these early days, I bet, if anyone looked for learning in your room, that there was A LOT. Give yourself that space to listen and look for learning.
    Happy new school year, friend!


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