Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Have Any New Year's Resolutions?

Happy New Year! The economy is not great. You probably don’t have the best budget you’ve ever had, but as an educator, the New Year affords you the opportunity to make some choices and some changes. You might want to go in a new direction. Since you are not likely to have a lot of extra money in the budget, that may mean that 2012 will be the Year of the Grant for you.

Of course, you could be a Doomsday enthusiast and firmly believe the world as we know it will end in December, 2012. If you happen to fall into that group, you may just want to enjoy yourself or start survival training. You probably believe that nothing you can do will help to avert the disaster, so you are resigned to this final act of fate.                                                                                
If you don’t belong in that small Doomsday Group, maybe you’re in the much, much larger Status Quo Group. You probably believe that nothing is going to change in your school regardless of how much effort you put forth, so it is best to just let things roll along as they are now and as they have always been. Besides, there’s no money for new programs or even enough money to significantly change the old programs that aren’t working. Nothing changed last year. Nothing will change next year. Nothing you can do now will change the current year. If that’s your thinking, then you’re as Status Quo as you can get.
The rest of you probably fall into my group: The New Year’s Resolution Group. You may have never stuck with a New Year’s resolution in the past, but you still make them because you are optimistic and believe things can change for the positive. In fact, you believe that you are an important part of your school system. Your thoughts and deeds can make your school a better place, and you are an important part of the change process.
Granted, there is probably little or no money in the budget for new programs or dramatic changes in the old programs, but that is why federal and state governments, foundations, and corporations give grant money to schools. Grant money should never be used to sustain an unsuccessful program. Grant money should be used to develop new, promising programs or to fix the ones which can be significantly improved.
New Year’s resolutions can be powerful motivators. Write them down. Share them with your fellow educators. Solicit their help in reaching your goals. Your enthusiasm is likely to be contagious and infect those around you. 

Here’s the question:  “Do you want to be a part of the small Doomsday Group, a part of the very large Status Quo Group, or a part of the medium-sized, but powerful New Year’s Resolution Group?” Be a positive, optimistic educator, if not for yourself, for every student you will touch for the remainder of this year. Make this year the year of change for your school, the Year of the Grant.

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