Setting Intentions: A New Year’s Resolution for Teachers

McGraw-Hill
Dec 27, 2019 · 3 min read

As the first half of the academic year comes to a close and we begin a new calendar year, it’s the perfect opportunity to set intentions for 2020. At the beginning of last summer, we talked about the importance of self-care for teachers. In a continuation of care, setting professional intentions for yourself, your classroom, and your students can be an excellent way of meeting small meaningful goals that can positive change in your classroom.

What are Intentions?

Intentions are broader than goals and often hold less tangible results. In a professional light, intentions are often described as, mindful expressions of an objective you are striving for and steps you plan to take to get reach that objective (1). Specifically laying out the what you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it, and how you will go about doing so (2).

The power of intentions comes from deciphering what is most important and orienting your attention to the underlying purpose (3). Intentions are flexible. They may be set to encompass the rest of the school year or you may choose to set an intention each day with your students. Helping students set daily intentions, rather than one overarching intention for the year, can be an excellent way to help them practice mindfulness and build social and emotional learning skills.

Steps for Setting Intentions

Unlike goals, which often have a measurable outcome, intentions are more lofty. Before starting to craft your intentions take a moment to ask yourself, “What is my greatest intention” this may be as it related to finishing the school year, to your students, or as a professions (3). Whatever comes to mind first, use that as a basis for developing intentions.

  1. Keep intentions in a positive frame of light (4). Instead of saying “spend less time getting off track during lessons,” say, “be a better steward of time” or “increase focus.” If the intention is for the whole class or specific lesson instead of “don’t get distracted,” frame it as, “be fully present.”
  2. Seeing is believing. Keep your intentions posted, not only will it be a constant reminder but it also increases accountability. For professional intentions, share them with your co-workers. Include your students in setting daily intentions for both the class as a whole or themselves. Consider designating a specific place in the classroom for posting intentions.

Getting Started

Setting intentions may seem overwhelming at first. To assist you on this journey of setting New Year’s intentions we have provided a couple samples below. We have also created a printable intention sheets for classroom utilization.

  1. “This year I will challenge students with meaniful, relevant, and interesting schoolwork” (5).
  2. “I will continue working to build positive and productive relationships with every students” (5).
  3. “Today we will enjoy the lesson and each student will take away new knowledge”

As you look forward to returning for the second half of the school year, we hope you take a minute to be mindful in your intentions for 2020. Through those intentions, it is our hope that your classroom transforms positively in a way that promotes and encourages student success and teacher growth. Happy New Year!

Resources

  1. Tubbs, M. E., & Ekeberg, S. E. (1991). The role of intentions in work motivation: Implications for. Academy of Management.the Academy of Management Review, 16(1), 180. Retrieved from http://libproxy.highpoint.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/210937794?accountid=11411
  2. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/setting-intentions-powerful-tool-help-us-learn-elena-aguilar
  3. https://www.mindfulschools.org/personal-practice/setting-intentions-mindful-school-year/
  4. https://mindfulminutes.com/intention-setting-101/
  5. https://inspiredteaching.org/inspired-teachings-intentions-for-the-new-year/

Inspired Ideas

Resources, ideas, and stories for K-12 educators. We focus on learning science, educational equity, social and emotional learning, and evidence-based teaching strategies. Be sure to check out The Art of Teaching Project, our guest blogging platform for all educators.

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Inspired Ideas

Resources, ideas, and stories for K-12 educators. We focus on learning science, educational equity, social and emotional learning, and evidence-based teaching strategies. Be sure to check out The Art of Teaching Project, our guest blogging platform for all educators.

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