January is the month I teach a "planning module" to my ninth grade. I've based this material loosely on the Franklin Covey planning system training course. I used to pay to send my outside reps and managers through this course (and I took it every year too) for three years. It is always a good reminder for me.
We've just completed the course and now, the ninth grade is working on their wikis. We had our first day today and I was quite impressed with their wiki about Understanding Your Values.
This is an excellent page on how to write and understand your values. Our values must underlie all that we do. When our values are not in line with our actions we become very unhappy. This is the first step that underlies our "productivity pyramid." The students say:
Create a picture of yourself as you would like to be. The more you say it to yourself the more you become that.
How do I find time for this material? I make time. I accelerate my other subjects that I must cover so that I make time for this.
Students come back and tell me that planning and goal setting is the most important thing I teach them because this is when they set the goals that change their lives.
I'm working with a young man right now who set goals two years a go as a freshman. He is a bright student and moved from a C/B to an A/B and pulled his GPA up considerably. He is working to go to some incredible colleges now and wants to have a career in the military. He said it has changed is whole life!
Kids need goals to shoot for. They need to see the world and realize that it is up to them to make their way. There is a time coming soon where they will diverge from their parents and they need to be ready. Setting goals doesn't increase stress on students it gives them purpose. It gives them hope.
As they set goals, I encourage them to identify experts in that area and to seek wise advice. As they seek wise advice, those they consult become their mentors. The mentors change their lives.
This is the most intangible three weeks that I teach with the least number of grades.
However, teaching students how to set goals, plan daily, and manage their time has more tangible long term results than anything else I teach.
Take time to teach what is important, not just what is urgent. It is what being a teacher is about!