Setting Intentions for the School Year

Back-to-school sales

The letter or e-mail that comes announcing in-service/professional development/new teacher training.

Ready. Or. Not.

When we are educators our life ebbs and flows by the school calendar. Most of us are required to come ready with goals for our professional practice this school year. Often we are asked that our goals be S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant.

It is very important to set goals. It’s important for us to teach our students to set goals. HOWEVER…This year we’d like to suggest you take a minute to also consider what your intentions are for this school year. They are not always as easy to measure but they are just as important.

Have a seat in your classroom. Sit where your students will sit. What’s the view from there? Follow your gaze. Where do messages of encouragement need to be? Will all eyes go to a clock, a door, or the front of your desk? If so, there’s a place for encouraging your students that they are safe and have a teacher that cares.

Intentions are a vehicle that make your classroom a feeling as much as a place. Is there music? Do you keep bread and peanut (or almond or sunflower or…)butter or other snacks for your students? Is this the year you buy a $10 diffuser, a battery operated candle, or start a minibar of scented hand sanitizers? Do you have a class mascot (one of our favorite teachers has a stuffed armadillo that students rub for good luck before an assessment), a cussing jar or a suggestion box? Perhaps you’re going to have the students help you stay accountable for drinking more water, smiling more or offering them more brain breaks?

Intentions represent a conscious attempt to live (and in this case–teach) according to your values and beliefs. Why did you get into teaching? Do you believe ALL students can learn? Do you believe that relationships are important? Then make your classroom a place where those values and beliefs are reflected every day. Take time to set your intentions for this school year.