Tag Archives: Goals

Reviewing Goals

2 Jan


I find breaking out of my comfort zone is hugely beneficial to my personal growth and development. Yes it does add a stress but I find “good” stress can be beneficial.

A small amount of stress can actually be good for you, as long as you still feel in control. That’s what breaking out of your comfort zone is all about: pushing your own boundaries and discovering your capabilities. It is similar to training. By doing the same thing all the time you can find the areas you can cheat. Your body gets used to certain workouts. Beyond being more productive, there are a few specific benefits to leaving your comfort zone.

Some of the things that I find with myself and the students I teach that braking out of my comfort zone does is you:

You learn more

You’re more resilient

You break down problems by slowing down

Each year I resolve to take on all the advantages of pushing myself a little. By October each year I realize I get to comfortable. As an educator I am uncomfortable with this.  So at the beginning of the year, I seek out new challenges.

It is  important to do this in small steps or I will burn out. Actually even those small challenges can be a big deal big deal.

Well here is how I went with some of my goals in 2015. These are those I can share without hurtinhg the innocent.

The Big Read

Every year I set myself the goal of reading 104 books. It goes back to my year studying the United States when I read 104 books in the year. I have never reached such dizzying heights since but it is great. This year I reached 76 books. Certainly made me think and completed the criteria of pushing me out of my comfort zone.

This also led me to other form of Professional Development. Some of which you will note here in this blog and in https://twitter.com/hashtag/rechatnz

I Forced Myself Out of My Routine

Once you get stuck in a routine, it’s tough to break your day to day habits. You tell yourself you’ll eat better, exercise more, or take better care of your finances, but it’s easier said than done. One way to set yourself up for success is to set up systems for yourself when motivation is high.

To counteract this, I spent some of this year by chance on secondment. I t was a great opportunity to network, challenge myself, travel and develop a great deal of my skills. The people I worked with were great. I was able to develop an entire different skill set under the pressure of being out of routine.

I was considerably more productive. I worked faster and more efficiently as I was working on the fly. Second, I felt happier. My day seemed longer, and in some ways, fuller, because the it was a different environment and energy from my normal routine.

So not only was I more productive and energized, but I developed skills. Downside: I drove my family insane.

There were a number of other goals which I was successful and unsuccessful with this year. I didn’t complete my Marathon nor did learn to play the ukulele. Perhaps that is some for 2016.

Another funny thing happened when I set my goals this year: the more I completed the more I loved it. Actually that is the case every year.

Being comfortable is nice. However, it’s actually a lot nicer after you’ve challenged yourself and learned from your experiences. It is great to look back and see how well you did. How well did you go last week? Have you thought about how you can push yourself out of the comfort zone in 2016?

In 2016 I will….

1 Jan


In 2016 there are a number of challenges ahead of us all. At present  I am reading and rethinking my approach to things in in 2016. I know I am very goals driven. I love setting goals. My wife not so much.

For many, New Year’s resolutions often feel like a forced, trite way to make a change. After all, if you really wanted to change, why would you wait around for January First? You’d be better off just making sporadic changes throughout the year, right?

Well, that strategy doesn’t always pan out like we’d like it to. Waiting until you “feel ready” to change often enables you to push aside goals that are important, but not time-sensitive.

If you’re serious about making a change, it’s important that you put specific, time-bound goals in place in order to achieve success. And the great thing about resolutions is they don’t have to just live in your personal life; they can be a powerful aid to help you grow in a number of areas, too. As the year progresses I will let you know on progress.

Goal Setting

10 Jan

Although January is typically the time of year when we turn to goal setting, too often, it is a waste of time. Let’s be honest. How many times have you achieved all of your yearly goals? I love the concept of New Year’s resolutions which by the way can be initiated at any time.

I loved this summary which I came across in my summers reading:

Before you set goals this year, keep these 6 things in mind:

  1. Start with your current goals.

Review and evaluate. How did it go last year?

  1. Connect your goals to a larger purpose

Set goals that move you toward what you really desire. It will be easier to stay committed to a diet if you see exactly how it will help you live a more fulfilled life.

  1. Goal setting is not always a logical process.

Usually I recommend making your goals SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. However, sometimes it can make a difference to just hold the intention of something you really want to do, even if you don’t have any idea of how you will achieve it.

  1. Write your goals down and put them somewhere visible.

The act of writing goals is important. It’s not enough to just keep them in mind. The act of writing them helps you make them more clear and crisp.

Then, put your written goals somewhere visible, where you’ll see them every day.

Goals that are filed in a drawer are likely to be forgotten. You don’t have to study them each day. If they are somewhere visible, your eyes will glance over them regularly, giving you a gentle subliminal reminder.

  1. Don’t keep your goals a secret.

Make your goals be visible. If you share them with others, they will be able to point out opportunities you’re not aware of. They might have some suggestions you haven’t thought of. And they will be able to offer support as you proceed.

My Half Ironman Dream

9 Feb

Followers of this blog will be aware of my new passion; for the last 18 months for Half Iron Man. I devoted an episode to it some months ago and this week I would like to re visit it as my event was on Saturday. My story isn’t about breaking records but rather the process of finishing and to go places in mind and body that we once thought of as impossible.

Here is what I learned:

You can’t always get what you want

photo 1

There is beauty in giving something everything you’ve got and never giving up. Swimming 2km in open water is a FAR cry from doing it at the local Aquatic Centre. This challenge got the better of me and I had to make the call to get someone else to do this leg.

I was shattered at first but I quickly understood that maybe I wasn’t meant to do the swim this time. A DNF would have crushed me. I had one previously in a club event and it was tough to handle. As it was the day was long and hot with the other two disciplines.

The Human Body and Mind Is Capable of Incredible Things

photo 4

2km swim, 90 km on a bike followed by a half marathon. It’s a massive task. In addition there is the added mental stress of gear failure or food issues. You need commitment in training, diet and family. My journey has changed the way I think. It has changed the way I deal with staff and students alike. It has taught me with enough hard work, diligence, and effort we can certainly achieve monumental goals we never thought possible. At the 70km mark on the bike I had serious doubts.

The Cadence or Pace

photo 2

You must learn to set the right pace. Come out the gates too fast and you’ll be dead half-way through the race. This is a hard lesson I have learned in the past. I wanted to finish and do it comfortably.

Competitors Make Us Better

photo 3

I love other participants. It is like golf. We are all out their but playing the course not really each other in our own world. These people could be viewed as competitors, but most racers realize that other participants bring the best out of their performance. I love learner and training with those better than me. In my case that is almost everybody.

Just Finish the Race

When it comes to tis, it’s not about what place you earned when you finish the race – it’s that you cross the finish-line. Search YouTube for some classic examples of bravery.

This is my favourite:



It’s not about winning it’s about competing.

photo 5

Okay, so to be honest this is not a mantra of mine before competing but now I understand. After yesterday I understand so much more.

My New Years Teaching Resolutions

1 Feb

I am now officially done with my summer holiday as I prepare to stand before the school and welcome them back to the new year. In my first blog of the new year  I am ready to post the goals that I have set for myself for 2014

 I will continue to be a lifelong learner by..

….completing my Level One Te Reo course.

This has been difficult but a true learning experience. It is hard to be put outside your comfort zone.

I will teach…

…to each individual student according to my learning plan.

I am a firm believer that to reach equality in the classroom everyone must be treated differently. Look at the data. What is it saying about the students in front of me.

…with  drive.

I want my students to build their own thinkers toolkit as the year progresses of knowledge, skills, learning approaches, thinking styles, reflective tools and ways of questioning. I want to help them scaffold answers and be the best they can be.

…and make connections.                                                                                  

Twitter and the VLN helped me become a better teacher in 2013. I want to build on this.

…with innovation.

Building on the above idea of connections. As technology moves along I wish to move with it, not two paces behind. I want to look into augmented reality as a way of getting students to share their learning with visitors and peers.

…and never forget the passion.

My students deserve the best and I shall give them that.

Continue to evaluate and analyse how I can do things better.

…in the 21st Century global village.

No walls here students. I am also open to listening to their ideas. Students have the best ideas.

As per usual I have my other resolutions which include reading 104 books this year, completing a half ironman and no iDevices on Wednesdays.

Wish me luck.


On a celebratory notethis blog is now one year old and this is the 100th post! Yay!




30 Aug

This week I am in the middle of marking an internal assessment. As teachers, we spend a great deal of our time marking and giving feedback to our students about their progress and how they can improve. I often wonder if the comments that I am making to students are being used for improvement or whether they just look at the grade and then shove their test/essay into their folder and never look at it again. I have been considering how I can make sure that the time we spend giving feedback is meaningful?

The following seem to be worthwhile:

  1. It is good to critically analyse the feedback that you are giving at the moment. Is it worthwhile? Is it being used by the students for improved achievement?
  2. Even if your students are not using learning logs it is vital that any feedback that students get from you is understood and synthesised. GIVE THEM TIME TO READ: When you hand work back to your students give them time to read your comments and ask questions about them. Then they should summarise the comment in their own words and formulate THREE goals for their next piece of learning.
  3. BEFORE the next test/assessment give the students time to look at their goals. Five minutes before the end of the test/assessment tell students to write in the margins where they think they have met their goals.
  4. When students hand work in for marking get them to indicate on a continuum how much effort they put in.
  5. Allow the students to work collaboratively. While drafting, my students have enjoyed this process of working together and creating a scaffold. They also enjoy the blended conferencing process.

Professional Reading

CD – Consultation – May08

A Vision for the Year

15 Feb

Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

As the school year begins I have been reflecting on the global issues that affect  teachers, parents and students. To help make this a great year I have been reading about things I can do which I thought I would share:

Relinquish control and embrace adaption

First understand that you can cannot control anything except for your own actions. This is true if you are a teacher, parent, child or school administrator. You can influence others and create environments that make it more or less likely that certain things will or won’t happen.

Know your own values/charism

Values are what we believe to be important about ourselves and others. They drive a lot of our behaviour and for the most part run in the background. When was the last time you took a look at what you value and adjusted your list to reflect who you are today or who you want to be in the future? Read your teaching philosophy this should guide you. I am also guided by the writings and teaching of John Baptist de la Salle.

Have a clear vision

Begin with the end in mind is a mantra often heard in boardrooms. Create your own personal vision (use your values as a guide) for the school year using the same principle. This is trickier than it sounds. The hard part is in not basing the vision on what you expect. Create your vision based on what you want that year to be like. Make it clear, vivid and as real as you can muster.

Set some goals

Values and vision alone are not usually enough to get you where you want to go. Once you have a set of current values and a clear vision create some SMART goals to move you in the direction of the vision. Part of goal setting is creating and then using an action plan. Goals need steps and we call those steps the action plan.

Align visions

Some visions and goals should be kept private. People can get trapped into talking the talk instead of walking the walk and unfortunately naysayers can deflate confidence. For these reasons some visions and goals should be shared only with people who you know will support you. Other visions and goals, like how you want your school year to go, should be shared. They need to be shared for a couple of reasons.

Invite others to do the same

You can make this a group activity. Here’s some ideas for different groups.

For teachers:

Spending some time at the beginning of the year to share your values and vision and co-create a class set of values along with vision and goals is a great way to empower kids. The days of dictating a list of do’s and don’ts I hope is a thing of the past. In today’s collaborative classroom working together on a vision of what the year will be like and a set of agreed upon goals sets a great tone for the year. Post the vision as a visual or a write statement and have everyone sign it, then display that in your classroom. Parents and teachers can also share the outcomes of these activities with each other.

For school leadership:

Nothing says “we’re a team” more that inviting your staff to co-create a vision. I know most schools have an “official” vision but as each year begins and new people come into the system while other leave it’s an important team building opportunity. This is a viewpoint we follow.


Fitted Storytelling from Edward Roads

Danielle Anne Lynch

Music, Theology, Religion, Education

Learn To Love Food

Food Fun For Feeding Therapy and Picky Eaters


This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas


Meaningful learning and effective teaching with a Finnish twist

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

karen spencer

Let's talk about learning and leading

Education in the Age of Globalization

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Teaching & E-Learning

Learning in Today's World

A View from the Middle

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Powerful Learning: It's a Digital Thing

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Search Msdn

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible


where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Mike's Blog

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible


Technology lessons from the classroom...

Welcome to the Frontpage

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Mark's Learning Log

Director of Learning Inquiries Pty Ltd an experienced educator

Mal Lee

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible