What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
Do you remember being a kid and being asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? My answers changed over time from a mailman (I created quite a post office using junk mail), a cartographer (I rode my bike through our neighborhood and drew maps on computer paper my dad brought home from work), a spy (I snuck around the house and traced copies of my parents’ signatures), and a chemist (because who doesn’t want to use all that cool glassware?). As we get older, we ask college students what they plan to study and are unsurprised when their major changes a time or two before graduation.
Early in life we have no problem dreaming, making a plan, and then modifying that plan as situations change and interests transition to something new, but when was the last time we as adults took the time to sit down, dream a little, and then plan for the future? If we’re not careful, our life can turn into transferring last year’s important dates onto a new calendar for the coming year rather than setting the stage for epic accomplishments. I’m wondering if perhaps it’s time to allow for some amazing possibilities without abandoning key responsibilities of our job as a leaders of science learning.
Effort versus Impact
Are you tackling the things that will make a notable difference, or are you spending your time on small things that don’t create big results? That’s the idea behind the “Effort versus Impact Matrix.” You can do a quick Google search to see some examples, but the short story is to write each of your tasks on sticky notes and then classify them based on how hard they are to implement and what kind of change they can cause. The ultimate idea is to put in the least effort to cause the biggest impact. Of course there are some tasks such as writing test questions and ordering equipment that carry on no matter what, but there are usually a few items with a little wiggle room. You may even find some items that could be delegated to someone else. Believe it or not, we don’t have to do it all.
Create something to look at that causes you to smile and say, “Yep, that sums up what I’m all about and what I’d like to be.” It might be quotes, pictures, articles, or other objects. It could be in a notebook, on an electronic device, or even on a board suitable for framing. You may be surprised by the things your board says about you, even if you think you know yourself well.
Checking in with Yourself
Make appointments with yourself and mark them on your calendar to reflect on what is taking up most of your time, what you are proud of, and what is currently causing you to pull out your hair. Imagine enjoying a beverage with yourself each Friday to take a look back and maybe even a look forward to what is coming up in the near future. If you’re into journaling, write down your reflections and then read them sequentially at the end of the school year. You just may reveal a picture you never imagined.
No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to “change your major” by reinventing yourself, what you do, and how you do it. I think there are many of us who are still deciding what we’d like to be as we grow up, and isn’t that the beauty of being a lifelong learner?
If you’re game for looking ahead, join us for our next few posts to dig into purposeful planning, looking at data, and finding ways to equip teachers to do great things in the science classroom. We’ll save you a seat.