Words equal power, so when people on Facebook and Twitter posted pieces on one word resolutions, I thought, “Oh, yeah, this is groovy.” Winter is all sludgy and freezy and the next significant break is months away, so my teaching energy could easily be poof, soot, gone. This one word resolution idea might keep me on track.
I thought if the one word resolution works for me, it would work for my students as well. I shared the one word idea with my students and how it could inspire them throughout the year. The students dove in and generated a list of powerful words.
Now, students were faced with the task of choosing their word. “One word? Just one? Can’t I choose like five? This feels too important to just randomly choose one word.” Many students stalled, unable to choose the one guiding word. I confessed that I had not chosen my word for that same reason. My brilliant virtual assistant, Beth Milligan, helps her clients focus on a successful year by using the one word resolution tool. Additionally, she suggests clients define their top three goals for the year as well as a theme to tie it all together.
Maybe my students should set a few goals. I asked my students to put their resolution word on the back burner and concentrate on their goals. Again, students rose to the task and generated goals.
While my students set goals for improving their athletic skills, or earning better grades, or maybe trying out for plays or cheerleading, I modeled for my students by writing my own personal goals using a document camera. When I reviewed my top three goals (reconnecting with friends, not letting work pile-up, and the traditional “I’m going to get healthy this year”), my first thought was that these goals seemed to have nothing in common. Then, “Bam,” the word balance jumped out at me. I need balance in my life. Since I came to this conclusion while thinking aloud in front of my students, my students started to find that after they set their goals, their words were easy to pick out, too.
Apparently, starting with goals aided in gaining clarity. Students excitedly shouted out words like “commitment”, “focus”, and “drive”. One girl looked at her goals, decided they would require much effort to accomplish, and said that the word “commitment” was her obvious choice. Another student said that the word “focus” would help him accomplish his goals.
What one word will guide you when you feel your teaching is veering off course and your workload feels overwhelming? The day after my classes completed their goal setting and one word resolutions, one of my students pulled me aside to tell me she had been in a horrible car accident the night before, but that everyone was alright. She confided to me that her one word was “survive”. Yikes, survive? Without context, that word made me wonder what she might be tangling with. She assured me that she saw this word as powerful and protective; if it were a stone, it would be her talisman. Wow, we both agreed that words can be powerful!