At first I was overwhelmed by the idea. 17 goals, that’s a lot. But when I got to thinking about it, I realized that not all of these bucket list items had to be major goals. The beauty of the “bucket list” is that is contains many smaller items that are easier to accomplish. In psychological terms, this allows for the “snowball effect”. Accomplish a few smaller items, which gives you the psychological motivation and sense of accomplishment to achieve larger ones.
So with that said, here is my 17 for 2017 bucket list, organized by theme (instructional coaches version):
1. Go through a coaching cycle - While I am a coach in title, often there are many other aspects of my position that take over my time (meetings, professional development, curriculum coodination). Coaching sometimes feels as if it is the last item on the to-do list. However, there is nothing more powerful than going through a true coaching cycle with a teacher. I hope to cross this one off multiple times throughout the year, but I’m putting it on my list to make it a priority.
2. Improve team meetings - Last year, our grade level department meetings were awful. This year, my goal was to make them more effective with action-oriented agendas and a focus on analyzing student work. We made some progress at the beginning of this school year, but still have a long way to go. My goal for the second half of the school year is to get a system in place for these meetings so that I can step away as facilitator, and just become a participant.
3. Make more of an impact at the elementary level - I was recently moved from a middle school coach role to a K-8 role. While I enjoy the variety this brings, it also bring a lot of challenges. While there are a few teachers that have been interested in working with me at the elementary schools, there aren’t many, and I have yet to do any substantive work with the ones who are interested. My goal is here is two-pronged - 1) Do quality coaching with the teachers I have on my team, and 2) Find a way to get at least a few more teachers interested in coaching.
4. Provide responsive PD - As anyone that has seen my professional development blogs knows, this is my bugaboo. Much of our PD in district is still a "sit and get" model. I want to make sure that teachers at least know that the topics of these sessions are in response to their needs, and the content reflects what they want to see if a PD session. I've had a number of teachers express the need for help to support ELLs in their math classrooms. I want to show I am listening by planning a PD around this topic.
5. Rewrite a curriculum unit - I recently saw Phil Daro speak about the challenges teaching grade level mathematics to students who come to us at all different levels (not one grade level). He provided a model for a unit that I thought was impressive. It is my goal to take one unit from our middle school curriculum and rewrite it in this frameowrk, present it to teachers and administrators, and get their feedback.
6. Measure my effectiveness - This is an oddball one, but the one thing I struggle with as an instructional coach is measuring my effectiveness. As a classroom teacher, I could measure it tangibly in how my students performed on assessments, an intangibly in their confidence in problem solving in the classroom. As a “coach” with a very wide role, this has been difficult. I’d like to find a way at the end of the year to gather the evidence, whatever it turns out to be, to say that I helped improve learning for our students in some way.
7. Get coached myself - I truly believe in leading by example, and if we want teachers to put themselves out there, we should be expected to do the same. I am lucky that I have a more senior coach that I work with that I can ask to act as my own coach. My goal - listen more, talk less.
8. Engage in a Twitter chat - My last year’s goal was to get better at Twitter, and I think I am moderately effective at this point. I’ve seen a lot of interesting Twitter chats fly across my Twitter feed, and my goal is to actually take the time to partake in one. I am excited for all the new insights and ideas this can bring.
9. Blog monthly - I love blogging. Despite the lack of other people reading my thoughts, it provides me with a great way to synthesize and reflect on ideas. I’d like to do this more often. I have plenty of excuses why I can’t (work, kids, school), but I want to make it a goal to do so regardless of the excuses.
10. Write an article - Beyond blogging, I want to share ideas in a published space. This has been a two year goal that has continually been pushed back, but I really hope that this year I can complete it.
11. Speak at a new conference - Speaking at conferences is an ongoing goal for myself. I love attending conferences for all of the new ideas I get, and each time I speak at them I find myself improving how I present information. I’ve been lucky to speak at two conferences this year, but next year I want to push myself to find a new venue to present ideas. What that will be, I don’t yet know.
12. Complete an athletic goal - I am always setting athletic goals for myself, it’s the only way I know I’ll get my butt in gear to work out. This year my goal is to complete a sprint triathlon. I know I feel better when I workout, and am better at my job when I feel better. Setting athletic goals is the way I keep myself going.
13. Make healthy more of a habit - The reasons for this is reflected in the goal above. When I feel better, I perform better. Currently, my diet is reminiscent of that of a college student. My goal this year is to make healthy eating a habit - more veggies, less sweets.
14. Read more non-teaching books - I miss reading fiction. The benefits of reading make this goal a no-brainer, I just need to create the time.
15. Call a friend monthly - For me, most of my closest friends are now spread across the country (Hawaii, Massachussetts, Tennessee, et.c). I need to keep in touch better, and forgo excuses for why I don't have time or energy to call.
16. Do more nice things for my husband - With two kids and a full time job, my husband sometimes seems to end up last on the list. It’s a goal of mine to make sure that doesn’t happen (too often) this year.
17. Take a trip - Two toddlers, work schedules, and tight finances mean traveling has been non-existent in recent years, although it was something that both my husband and I loved. My goal is to find a way to take a family trip this year.
I hope in reading you saw some of your own goals reflected above, or got some new ideas. Happy 2017!