You’ve made it to the end of the school year. You can finally reap the rewards of working in a school and cash in that summer freedom. Time to pack up, check out, and go, right? WRONG! Didn’t you read the title of this blog post? Before you take a summer-long breather, I challenge you to delay your exit by 10 minutes (maximum 30 minutes) and set 3-5 goals for next school year. Here’s why I think now is the time:
1. You’re tired.
Fatigue is very potent this time of year. My desire for 8+ hours of sleep grows stronger with each piece of paperwork I check off my to-do list. I find a strong attraction to naps increases the likelihood that my goals will be realistic and accomplishable. Of course, there is a slight risk that you’ll make your goals too easy for the new school year, but I think the next reason insures against that problem.
2. Your mistakes are more proximal.
If you managed to make it through the year without a single mistake, bravo! That feeling is a mystery to me. In addition to mistakes, I definitely have growing edges – areas I would like to improve. Goals are designed to keep us accountable; when our mistakes and/or growing edge are in recent memory, we know where we need to push ourselves.
3. Necessities are just as clear as priorities.
This time of year also finds us managing last-minute deadlines. While we may envision how to fix our bad habits from this year, we also know the necessities that inform our priorities. I can come up with a laundry list of things I want to change for next year, but the true needs for my school environment should inform the chosen goals. Sometimes we conveniently forget our school’s challenges. If we set goals now, they are at the forefront.
4. You know how you’re ending so you can determine how your start must be different.
Goals help focus and break a cycle. This reason is very similar to reason #2. We fall into routines for their functionality. Sometimes routines become bad habits. We can see the result of these habits and understand how a fresh start may result in a different ending next year.
5. This is one last thing instead of one more thing to get ready for the school year.
Let’s face it. Things take off fast once a school year begins. We try to pace ourselves, but unexpected tasks emerge within days (sometimes hours) of us walking back into our school buildings. If you set goals now, you’ll have a vision when you walk through those doors instead of finding your vision while also managing the logistics and set up for the new school year.
Author: Valerie F. McDaniel, MA, MT-BC, CF-SLP