Happy 2010, and welcome to a brand new decade! As we settle into the New Year, I believe that we are provided with a unique opportunity to remind our students that everyone can have a fresh start. By goal-setting with my students, I am reminded what is important to them in their educational journey. In addition, it provides me with the opportunity to make suggestions that may guide them in their goal-setting plan.
Conducting individual conferences with my students upon the return to the classroom encourages students to get back into the school groove and really think about the time remaining in this academic year. I believe the factor that is crucial in these goal setting meetings is often the obvious; you’ve really gotten to know your students and are in tune with their educational needs, learning styles, and personalities. For these reasons, I believe that these conferences often have the most impact on my students. I have found the meetings are more in depth and personal. Students often confide and divulge more information as far as long term goals, and it also gives us the chance to discuss plans for future tracks of study in 7th and 8th grade as well their high school aspirations as well.
Here are some guidelines I follow for these very special meetings with my students:
1. Have a special folder dedicated to goal-settings for each student.
2. Compare the goals set at the beginning of the year versus the middle of the year.
3. If class time is packed with instruction, invite students to eat lunch with you or come in before class to have these conferences.
4. Allow the students to lead the meeting. I tend to do much more listening and writing than talking.
5. Keep the list of goals very short so they are attainable for the student.
6. Think about helping the student set short term and long term goals.
7. Allow the student access to the folder at all times of the year.
Some times it is good for students to take a peek at the goals they set as a reminder. In the current educational atmosphere I realize that making time to conduct these meetings may seem out of reach; however, with creative planning, this can be done quickly and efficiently. I don’t know about you, but I remember every time a teacher made a special effort to include me in the educational process. I know that your students will remember your efforts as well. Giving our students a voice in their learning and allowing them the opportunity to really think about their future in a proactive manner empowers them and allows them to take stock in their education.
With all of that said, welcome back educators, and here’s to a beautiful, productive, and positive new decade. I so look forward to spending the next 5 months blogging and sharing classroom ideas with one another.