Our latest #SAVMP post is about setting goals. I heard or read the title I used for this blog somewhere, but I cannot remember where. I have been a goal setter for as long as I can remember. Some of my goals were academic but the ones I really remember were about athletics. Like most boys growing up in Kentucky, I dreamed of playing college or professional basketball. Neither came true for me, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
After failing to reach my basketball goal, I set my sights on becoming a teacher. I received an outstanding education at Marquette University and, after graduating in 1987, became a teacher in Waukesha, WI, the same district where I graduated from high school. I taught there for 15 years but I had another goal, leading a school. I received my Master's Degree from Marian University and this provided me an opportunity to become an administrator in Elmbrook, a neighboring school district. I was an assistant principal there for five years but knew that I wanted to have "my own school", so I pursued a principalship in Merton, another neighboring district. I have been in Merton for nearly seven years.
Now that I realize that my goal to play professional basketball is only a dream, I have set goals for myself in education. I want to lead in the way that I would want to be led. I have learned to listen, really listen, and then share when I have something that may help someone move forward. I rely on my twitter and voxer friends to help keep me grounded and to help me think through the daily opportunities that come my way as an educator. But I still have goals, and I need to act on them or they will only be dreams. Here are two examples, one from running and one from education.
I have been fortunate enough to have a family who supports me with my addiction to running. I started my running streak in August of 1987, the same time I started my career in education. Within this streak I have had three times when I thought my streak would end. One was a severe ankle sprain, but I wanted to extend my streak so I ran in the high school swimming pool until my ankle was healed. Another was when I had walking pneumonia. My wife helped me continue my streak one day by standing behind me while I ran on my treadmill. The last was when I had surgery. I ran the morning of the surgery and then waited until my wife went to work to run on the treadmill. The goal of continuing my running streak has become a compulsion and I will either get up extra early to run or run extra late. This goal would only be a dream if I didn't plan out how I would keep it going every day.
My educational goal is something that I have posted on the keyboard of my Chromebook. It says, "Growing all students and staff academically and behaviorally every day." I must admit, the reminder helps to keep me focused as it is with me at all times during the school day and when I am at home. I search twitter for the latest ideas and try to "Mertonize" it. "Mertonize" is the term we use in our district to take an idea so it fits our students and staff. I have one on one conversations, grade level conversations, and leadership conversations and they all focus on this one goal. My meetings with students and parents focus on this one goal. And when I run, my thoughts often are about this one goal.
What would be your one goal for your students and staff, and what have you done to take it from a dream to a reality?