Monday, December 20, 2010

New Resolutions vs. Old Goals

10_0101 January Calendar, Joseph Readdy, uploaded December 31, 2009 via flickr, Creative Commons License

I regularly exercise at a health club near my house. The worst month to workout is January. The place is always packed that month. A lot of new people show up with great intentions of achieving their new resolutions for exercise or weight loss. We all do it. We all set new personal or professional goals in January. I will do it too, yet I am going to suggest another focus for my New Year’s resolutions.

I set professional goals for myself back in August. New beginnings, like the start of a school year or a start of a calendar year, are great times to set goals and resolutions. At this time however, I feel that the best thing for me is to review old goals before I make new resolutions. When January 1, 2011 rolls around, I will limit my new resolutions so that I can take time to revisit my old goals. The idea is I want to achieve as many goals as possible before I set new goals. It is easy to just set goals, and not as easy reach my goals. Don’t let your “goals to reach” list get too much longer than your “goals reached” list.

Which goals do you want to revisit in the new year?

Click HERE for a past blog post comparing twitter to my health club.

Click HERE to see my blog post listing some goals for this school year.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What Makes a Teacher Great?

Scott Maxwell, 3D Realty Handshake, December 25, 2007, Creative Commons License

Every great teacher that I know has had a special kind of energy. The special kind of energy that makes it very clear that they are excited about teaching. They are willing to go the extra mile inside and outside of the classroom. They are willing to take risks by trying new methods in the classroom. They smile, laugh, and talk about how much they love teaching and their students. However, the most important focus of their excitement and energy is directed at relationships. These teachers use their love for education to build relationships with students, parents, and colleagues. If you truly know your students, and if you truly know the parents, you can better serve their needs. If teachers work hard at developing a relationship with their students, and if the students know that they are loved, they too will have an excitement for learning just like their teacher. Relationships also extend outside the classroom. Encouragement and collaboration among colleagues will make a teacher great. This type of teachers is willing to share resources, methods, projects, and ideas with other teachers.

Great teachers love their students, respect the parents, and collaborate with colleagues. Building and maintaining these relationships will make you great.

This blog post was inspired by the Educational Leadership article What Makes a Teacher Great? from the Dec 2010/Jan 2011 issue.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Plant a Seed - Part 2

Hot Coffee on a rainy dayHow many of you need a cup of coffee to begin your day? I’d like to say that I am not addicted to my morning cup of coffee, but I am. My first cup comes at about 8:05 each morning without fail. Most days, I do something that does a better job of getting me going than a cup of coffee. I try to stand outside of our junior high building to welcome the 5th-8th graders who are arriving. I greet each student that comes in by name and with a handshake. It’s great to see student come out of the car with their hands full, and then shift all of their items (gym clothes, band instruments, art projects, or lunch bags) to their left hand because they know they have to shake my hand. “Good morning Mr. Creutz” is what they are all trained to say now as they shake my hand. As the weather has gotten cooler the past couple of weeks, I have begun to reply to them, “It’s a beautiful day… In Hawaii!” It brings a smile to their face, or a roll of the eyes, which begins my day better then the best coffee in the world can do.
Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
The interesting thing about the “Hawaii” comment is that I use it because my principal in elementary school used the same phrase to welcome me. I rolled my eyes then, but it stuck with me. I didn’t realize it then, but he planted a seed that he never was able to see. His welcoming presence helped me to begin my day in a positive way. Never underestimate your influence on your students. Your words, your actions, and your concern are going to be remembered long after they leave your school