I’ve learned so much this year that it’s tempting to throw myself into every initiative that comes across my desk and to want to change everything about my teaching all at once.

It’s tempting.

It’s also INSANE!

So I’ve decided to set some priorities for next year, and I’m following the model that my friend Kevin shared with me, that he learned from a speaker in his Master’s class. This person held up one hand and said that he was so busy he decided that he would have five priorities (Get it? Five fingers? Five priorities. I guess you only get to have six priorities if you’re the bad guy who killed Inigo Montoya’s father, in which case you’re going to die anyway so…) not just for work, but for your life. If something doesn’t fit one of those priorities you have to say no. Easier said than done, but I’ll give it a try. I just need to figure out what my priorities are.

Well first of all, it seems important to me to make sure that my relationships with my family and friends should be at the top of my priority list.

Then health. That can be physical, mental, and spiritual.

Yikes! That only leaves three left for professional priorities!

All right, well we all know that I want to find ways to bring more web 2.0 into the classroom even if I don’t have a beautiful shiny wifi Apple-sponsored computer lab (But seriously, that would be amazing).

Two left!

Assessment and Evaluation: No big surprise there. I want to continue to refine my understanding of good assessment and evaluation practices and how to bring together the ideal and the reality in order to support students. I like this one because it encompasses a lot of other things that I’m passionate about.

One left! Well people keep asking me what my ultimate goal is in this profession. Do I want to go into admin? Do I want to go back to the board office? Do I want to go to grad school? For now, I’ve decided that my ultimate goal is to be a really really good teacher. To some people that may not sound like a terribly ambitious goal, but it is to me. I think it’s easy to become complacent in this profession. I think that you have to keep pushing yourself to get better and to continue to see yourself as a learner. I never want to have the attitude that “I’ve been doing this for 20 years; there’s nothing new anyone can tell me about teaching.”  So my fifth priority is to view myself as a professional learner. That may sound a bit too vague but I know what it means.

So that’s it for now. I may come back and revise these later. Do you have any priorities or goals for next year?

5 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. Great Posts! In the past, the principal would ask us to put our goals in a self-addressed sealed envelope for the next year. Thanks to your soapbox I can make it public. Your reflection has caused me to reflect, and so here are my goals for the next season:

    1. Leverage teachers into networked learning communities, so teachers can reap the benefits of shared learning;
    2. Employ video conferencing in learning networks for students; and,
    3. Develop a vision for good online pedagogy vis-à-vis assessment, evaluation, and instruction.

    Well those are the personal goals, notwithstanding the professional projects that come along. Thanks, principal Barker ;=)

  2. Principal Barker huh? Well, apparently you didn’t notice my earlier typos. (I fixed them!) Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hey Danika,

    Another great and thought-provoking post. I have also been mulling over priorities next year. Like you, I have many that need to be whittled down. I’ve got some similar priorities, too!

    1. Balance with family. My hubby is becoming a Principal and I anticipate that his time at school commitment will go up up up. I’m going to be .5 VP and .5 Grade 8 LA/History/Geography, so that will mean increased prep and marking for me.
    2. Stay healthy. I see running in the morning as my proactive stress buster.
    3. Collaborate meaningfully with teachers at my school and beyond. I am collaborating with a colleague that I found on Twitter and at least two other teachers in my own district. Very exciting. I want my students to be connected to other students and I want them to benefit from the expertise that is distributed throughout my PLN.
    4. I need to figure out how to do more with less technology available to me in the classroom. Anyone have a digital projector they feel like donating? Seriously, I’m feeling a bit frustrated at the lack of movement forward here, however, I am vowing to stay positive and make things work with what is available.
    5. I want to focus on integrating the History and Geography within the LA through the big ideas. The theme of Conflict and Change resonate throughout the History curriculum and lends itself nicely to integrated planning.

    The list could go on, but I like your advice – stick to five.

    Great post!

  4. Great list Shannon! We need more VPs like you (congrats by the way). I could, of course, connect to many of your priorities, but I’m very intrigued by #5 since it’s a discussion in our board as well. Many of our teachers and indeed many of our administrators are still struggling with the concept of “big ideas” and how to build a TLCP around them. I’d love to hear how it goes. And yes, stick to five. Unless you have a sixth finger.

    Number 4 was a big concern for me as well. It was nice to dream about all the things I could do in an ideal classroom and now I’m faced with the reality. But perhaps scarcity is the mother of invention?

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