Slice of Life: New Year, New Goals, Now What?


I love the beginning of the year in school. It’s a new beginning. We start with a clean slate. New notebook. New pens. Clean spaces. Renewed focus. New goals. But the new doesn’t stay new for long. To be successful, we need accountability tools.

The thing is, accountability doesn’t work unless it is supported and wanted.

For some, the support needs to be social. I have a friend who is embarking on a weight loss program that requires checking in on Facebook. She understands there is no way she will do the work unless she has social pressure.

I’ve imposed accountability measures on myself with writing. Blogging and a writing group provide support.  If I didn’t have those constructs, I would not write. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or that I don’t hem and haw. That I don’t disappoint or, fall short of my goals, but I do it to some degree. The support of other bloggers and writing friends help me show up.

But all the support in the world would not matter if I didn’t want to do the work. The work is too hard, and the distractors are too great to be just about the support. I have to want it. The want has to come first. Then the support sustains. But I have to want it. And we have to humble ourselves. We have to say we’re not strong enough on our own. We have to accept someone else in our business.  Someone who can see us fail.

You think you get something, but then, you realize, maybe not so much. Recently, my son asked me to support him accomplish something. I was his accountability tool. But, everything came from him. It has to start there.

Funny. We teachers use the word “accountability” all the time. But do we think of it as a means to reach a wanted goal?  Accountability is not “got you.”  It is about defining what you want and who or what will help you through the ups and downs of accomplishment.

Goal making and accountability in the classroom is often one-sided. It starts and ends with the teacher. That right there is a problem. As the new year starts, all bright, shiny, and hopeful, I’m thinking about how to engineer the rest of the school year filled with goals students want to reach.

If you haven’t seen NED’s Great 8, check it out.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.