The alarm goes off at 5:30 and 5:39 and 5:48 and then 5:57. Finally, I roll over to my right side cursing the annoying Brittney Spears song on my iphone alarm. Monday AGAIN! Getting on my feet I trace the familiar steps of my day. Make the coffee. Feed the dog. Take a short walk. Scoop the poop.
Next, I pick out my clothes for the day. Change my clothes. Change again. Grab my coffee and I’m out the door. Arriving at school, I glance at the clock. 6:45. Arriving at school this early always makes the day seem very long. But the hallways are quiet. I love that. Until 7:45…
UGH!! This scenario is not the best one to start a day of inspiring young minds to reach their higher potential. Yet it is the routine that many of us practice each morning. So, on this Monday morning, I would like to remind you about the little practice called setting a purpose for your day.
Seems simple enough, right? But how many of us actually think about our days before they begin?
“Well, my purpose is to get through the day without injury.” you add.
I reply, “My dear, that is not enough.”
When you arrive at your desk in the morning, leave the lights out and take just five minutes to set a purpose. Take a post it and your fav pen. Place them in front of you and think about what you would like to learn today. Too often we concentrate on what we need to teach…but let’s think about learning this time. Simply learning and being a student of your life. Next, we have to imagine the action we need to take to achieve this purpose. Without action there is no progress, so commit to it.
Sit up straight, both feet flat on the floor.
Once you have centered yourself, begin writing your purpose statement this way,
Today, I set a purpose to learn about ______________. I will take action towards this purpose by_________________.
Today, I set a purpose to learn about how to choose texts that interest my particular group of students. I will take action towards this purpose by asking students to jot down their top three interests. I will also make one phone call during lunch to the parent of Travis just to ask what his parent feels would reach his motivation.
Today, I set a purpose to learn about how assessment can become more of the students’ responsibility in my classroom. I will take action towards this purpose by starting to set the ground rules for small group instruction in my room. I will search the topic on the Internet from guru’s in the educational community.
Always, phrase your statement in a positive way even though it might be very difficult to think of a positive way to phrase things.
For example: Avoid writing, Today, I will finish off my argument with Mike. I will take action by glaring at him through the window and placing the sign for loser on my forehead.
Today, I set a purpose to see the positive in Mike. I will take action towards this purpose by looking him in the eye and asking how his day is going. I will be sure not to stay too long in the staffroom today.
Now that you have your purpose for the day, place it somewhere visible. Stick it to your desk or place it in your pocket so that you can refer to it throughout your day. Check in with your purpose. If you have accomplished this purpose, then place it in your planning book for future reference. You may want to set a new purpose right then and there, but do not feel pressured. If you get to the end of the day and feel that you have not reached your purpose then adjust your purpose for the next day by adding detail making the purpose more specific.
Finally, model this activity for your students. Give them sticky notes and have them record their individual ideas. Notice how each student will have a different purpose for learning. That’s ok! In fact, that should prove to you that each one comes to your classroom differently. Sometimes the actions required to fulfill each student’s purpose do not even include you. HA! Takes off some of the pressure, right?
When I set a purpose for my days, I find my eyes opening before the alarm. No snooze required.
Until next time,