January 8, 2013

Setting High Goals for a New Semester

I don't know about you, but when I was a student, there was nothing better than a do-over. It was the thing I liked best about a new year or a new semester: the chance to do it better. I think we all need a good "reset" in our lives from time to time... I guess that's the point of a New Year's Resolution, right? When I worked in Corporate America, I once told my boss that this was something I missed about school. Somehow, having an annual review and then walking back to my cubicle to continue the same work as before the meeting didn't have the same effect.

But I digress...

When I was a kid, I would always come back from a break (whether summer or Christmas... remember when it was still called Christmas break?) when a fresh attitude and resolve to be on my best behavior and get straight As.

I guess I expected my students to do the same. I don't think this was a lofty expectation because my former students also seemed to be re-motivated at the beginning of a new semester. My current students, though, not so much. They came back to school this week with the exact same attitudes and behavior problems they had in December.

Boo. Hiss.

I really wanted them to want to do better. I even tried to inspire them with a journal activity about their resolutions for the new year/semester. I thought, for sure, I'd get to read all their promises of angelic behavior and diligence. Instead, I read about how my boys were planning to "get more girls" in the new year. I wish I were kidding! I actually had to help a student "expand" this writing. I asked him how he planned to meet this goal, and his response was, "With my good looks. Everyone can't look like this!"

At least they make me laugh!


  1. Our ELA teacher began the year back with the video 211 degrees. You can find it on Youtube. Just a thought if you'd like another pick-me-up day for your students. Basically it's one degree separating water from just being "hot" to "boiling", which is what is desired. So many stop at 211 degrees. . .or ever 208 degrees. . .it's probably a good exercise to have young and old think about once in awhile.

    1. I just checked out the video. I think my students will like it. Thanks for the idea!