For the next few minutes, let yourself release all of the frustrating realities that are preventing you from dreaming up a better teacher life. Let them enter your mind and then let them go. Imagine them floating into the air like balloons. If you're more of a writer, draw up a quick list of all of the things that weigh you down and don't let you dream. Then, crumple it up and throw in the recycling bin. Take a a marker to it and scribble to your heart's content. Just let them go for a bit. We can circle back to them later, but right now, for the next few minutes...THEY. DO. NOT. EXIST.
Okay, did you do it? Is your mind clear and ready to dream up a better teacher future? The reality is, all of the blog post tips, strategies, or success stories in the world won't make a difference if you don't let yourself imagine what could be possible. So, once you're ready, let's get started.
First, consider why you got into teaching? When you closed your eyes and thought of life as a teacher, what did you see yourself doing or experiencing that made you excited to be in the classroom? Write those activities down. You may want to start with, the best parts of teaching are when I do/say/hear/feel...
Now, think about what skills and learning experiences you want for your students. What do you hope they retain and remember from your class? Try listing these using the sentence starter: I want my students to learn/say/do/feel...
I'm going to go out on a limb and say many of your visions of teaching were centered on your interactions with students, and the things you want for students involved a mix of academic and personal takeaways. Whatever your responses were, keep these in mind, as these are the activities and skills we want to plan for throughout the year.
Now, if you were to focus all of your time on accomplishing just these teacher-facing and student-facing goals, what would your planning time look like? What types of activities will help your students learn most effectively and also nourish your teacher soul?
Try designing a job posting for your planning time.
Click on the image below to download the free printable template!
When your vision is done, post your vision somewhere you can see it when you plan. Nearly all of your planning time should be dedicated to bringing these goals to life. If your time is side-tracked by other tasks, identify what those tasks are. We will address these barriers, but today is all about thinking big and letting yourself simply dream of a better life as a teacher. Once you have written, posted, and internalized this vision as something that is worthy of striving towards, then we can continue with the work.
If you are feeling stuck, click the button below to get my 50/40/10 planning time freebie to help you dream up ideas for how your use of planning time could radically shift.
I'd love to hear about your process. Share a picture of your vision posted in your workspace! Want to make sure we get the barrier(s) weighing you down, share those in the comments section too. This will help me design content that directly addresses your needs.
Lindsay is a educator and leadership coach who helps teachers develop engaging project-based curricula, fosters student and teacher voice, and works to advance racial and gender equity and culturally responsive practice.