The jobs of great teachers extend beyond the classroom. Inasmuch as I have only a few months experience in this teaching profession, I regularly get calls from parents who want me to help their children to achieve a goal which they have set out for them. The goal of one student or student often differs significantly from that of another parent or student.
It is important that educators set goals for their students because it is the only way they can monitor their progress. If there is no goal then there won’t be a basis for accessing success. However, researchers have said that as much as 92 percent of people fail to achieve their goals. The large figure is worrisome and I think it boils down to not having an efficient goal in the first instance. For educators to be able to help parents to achieve their long-term goals, I will make a number of recommendations that have worked for me thus far.
If a parent or student has a goal they want to reach, the first step you should take as an educator is to sit with them and talk it over. Sometimes the goals are so vague that it may be difficult to reach them. Also, encourage the parents to let their child set their own goals when the two are not in unison. If a student set his or her own goal, they will be intrinsically motivated to achieve success rather than when a goal is forced down their throat by their parents.
Students are often in the habit of choosing goals that are unrealistic and nearly impossible to attain. For example, if a fifth grader tells you that he or she wants to become a medical doctor in the next five years you have to confront them and let them know how unrealistic such a goal is. Encourage students and parents to choose realistic goals.
One of the reasons why many people fail to reach their goals is because they often feel too big. The best way to handle this is to break down the goals into smaller bits. Teach students and parents to break goals into smaller bits and gradually move up the ladder until they achieve their goal.
When you break up goals into smaller bits also have checkpoints at the end of each fraction. For example, I encourage students to write down their main goal and then write the various steps that will be needed to achieve this goal. They can check in on their goals on a weekly or monthly basis. I like to use calendar hung in the student’s room to remind them of their goals. The student can tick a checkpoint when they have achieved the goal for that checkpoint.
While setting goals I also brainstorm the potential obstacles with the parents or students. If you don’t plan for obstacles they can derail the child’s motivation when they finally come.