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Free 2023 Goal Setting Journal for First Year Teachers

Free Goal Setting Journal for First Year Teachers

As we start a new year, this is a great time to consider goal setting. Even if you are reading this and it’s the middle of June, there’s no better time than now to start setting goals.

I created this free journal to help you set and keep track of goals. Did you know that when your goals are written down and you share them, you are 10 x more likely to accomplish them? Share your goals in the First Year Teacher Mentor Group. If you aren’t yet a member of our Facebook community, we’d love for you to join by clicking here.

The reality is that when we set big-picture goals, they can seem so far out, unattainable, or scary that we fail to even get started. I’ve created this journal with a focus on proven methods that will help you reach your goals one step at a time. Please note, I’m not a psychologist or counselor, I have simply found these methods have worked well for me and others, and I wanted to pass them along to you.

Free Goal Setting Journal for New Teachers

I first learned about the GWOP method in a leadership meeting. It kind of reminds me of SMART goals, but I like this method even more.

Basically, the G stands for the “goal.” To use the GWOP goal method, you start by defining the goal with specificity. Let’s say your goal is to leave school by 4:00 on Tuesday and Thursday. Instead of just saying, “I want to leave school earlier,” defining a specific day and time frame, makes the goal more concrete. This makes it easier to adhere to the goal because its not some arbitrary goal.

The W stands for the “why.” It’s important to determine the purpose of the goal that you’re setting. Think about your values and priorities. In this case, if you want to leave school by 4:00 on Tuesday and Thursday, maybe you want to attend your child’s sports games, or use the afternoon to hit the gym for a solid uninterrupted workout. Maybe your partner gets off early on those days and you want to spend quality time with them. Whatever the reason, be sure to develop the “why.”

The O stands for “obstacles.” I think this is one of the most overlooked steps and yet is probably one of the most helpful steps. For example, if you plan to leave school by 4:00, this might mean that you have to take unfinished work home. Maybe you love chatting with the teacher next-door but know that you won’t have time to chit-chat. Maybe you anticipate some anxious feelings of leaving work earlier than your typically used to doing. All of those things are valid obstacles, and when we can anticipate the challenges or obstacles ahead of time, we are more likely to come up with solutions before it catches us off-guard.

The last step is the P which stands for the “plan.” So keeping the obstacles in mind, you can develop a plan that makes sense. Maybe you set an alarm on your phone at 3:45 so you can start packing up and leave by 4:00. Maybe you have an accountability person who texts you to make sure you’re out the door. You might plan to let your teacher-bestie know that you can’t chat after school on those days and to text you if it’s important because you have a 4:00 appointment. Yes, you have an appointment. You can have an appointment with yourself. Maybe you recognize that in order to get out the door by 4:00 you will need to create a better plan for lesson planning, like batching. You can read all about batching lessons here.

Free Goal Setting Journal for New Teachers

Within this goal-setting journal, I’ve included a number of helpful tools like the zone of proximal development, an iteration inventory, and setting 72-hour goals planning sheet. You can find all of the tools within the free journal, which you can download here.


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