As we ring in 2017, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate our goals and resolutions – some of which may be related to the students we’ve devoted our careers to. We’re in a great position, as educators, to help those students achieve THEIR New Year’s resolutions.
While some students may simply resolve to “make the baseball team,” “lose 5 pounds,” or “get Josh to notice me,” today’s competitive environment is now motivating many students to make more far-reaching resolutions about their future. “Lose weight” may be replaced by, “get into an Ivy League school,” or “become an engineer” (or a doctor, or a filmmaker).
Students remember the teachers who helped them achieve their goals and dreams. You can be the one they never forget!
7 Tips for Guiding Students toward Their Goals
The best teachers have high expectations of their students and specific ways to help them succeed. Here are 7 guidelines for helping them navigate their path to achievement.
- Be specific. Goals shouldn’t be too broad or all-encompassing. If your student’s resolution is to “be successful,” for example, help them zero in on exactly what success means to them.
- Create steps. Lofty goals can be overwhelming. Help your students identify specific steps and a logical progression toward success. They need a starting point and a path to follow. They don’t have to accomplish everything at once.
- Identify their passion. Students are likely to be more successful and more committed if they’re working on something they’re excited about. Observe what types of activities or subjects create a spark in the students, and then talk to them about ways to develop that interest into rewarding careers or future pursuits.
- Encourage experimentation. It’s hard for anyone – especially a young person – to know with certainty what they want the future to bring. Once a student identifies an interest, suggest ways to “try it on for size” – perhaps through a summer career exploration or internship. As students dig more deeply into their fields of interest, they will not only be able to confirm their course of action, but also gain confidence and a higher level of engagement. When someone stays engaged, they’re more likely to keep their resolution, instead of letting it fall by the wayside as the year progresses.
- Set deadlines. Students can more easily track their progress if they have a timeline to follow as they check off each step in their “plan of action.”
- Help them stand out in the crowd. Colleges and employers are looking for more than just good grades. They want well-rounded candidates that have life experience and leadership skills. Place your students in leadership roles and encourage extra-curricular activity.
- Build confidence. Create activities that help students gain confidence in their own abilities. That confidence will keep them motivated and help them shine as they take their next step toward achieving their goals.
What’s the most interesting or inspiring New Year’s resolution you’ve heard from your students?