Recently, I’ve been holding individual meetings with our new educators at our school. We’ve hired some phenomenal teachers this year, and while I’ve visited their classrooms and had a few conversations here and there with them, I still was left wanting and needing to know them better personally and professionally.

Due to COVID, our new teacher orientation over the summer was much different than in the past, and our physical meetings and get-togethers have been limited this fall. We’ve been having virtual chats and learning in Google Classroom for new teachers, but as you can guess, it’s just not the same as getting to look in each other’s eyes, read body language, and feel the energy from each other when you’re learning together.

I emailed all of the new teachers to let them know that I wanted to meet with them, and I shared a link to my appointment calendar. (I just learned how to create appointment slots in my Google calendar to share with others—it’s a very neat trick!)

Here’s what I included in my email:

I would like to schedule short, individual meetings with all of you beginning this Friday. These are 15-minute meetings, and I’d like to talk about:

  • What motivates YOU?
  • How can I support you in what you’re doing?
  • What do we (Hoover High School) need to do better?
  • What’s one thing you’re grateful for right now?

It was a conversation with one of our new teachers that led to writing and sharing this blog post. When I asked him, “What drives your engine? What motivates you?” He said that he loves learning and always wants to keep getting better and growing. I followed up by asking him if he had always been that way, even from a young age.

What he said next was very cool.

He said that a few years ago, he was looking through his Facebook timeline, and he noticed that he seemed to be in the same place in life, doing the “same old thing.” He realized that he needed to make some changes and be intentional about what he was learning and doing to ensure that he was continuing to grow and evolve.

I thought that what he shared was so inspiring! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m a planner and goal setter, and the idea of using my social media timeline as a tool for goal setting really resonates with me.

As we come to the end of 2020, this is the time for us to be preparing for a new year of personal and professional growth. This weekend, I plan to review my timelines and take some notes on where I’ve been and where I would like to go.

Here are the nitty-gritty questions that are a part of my goal-setting framework:

Jennifer Hogan is an assistant principal at Hoover High School in Hoover, AL. She is the 2018 Alabama Assistant Principal of the Year. Visit her blog, The Compelled Educator, and follow her on Twitter (@Jennifer_Hogan).

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