Living the Dream: Goals can be Motivating

Goal setting has never been one of my favorite tasks as a teacher. In fact, the goals I have set over my career were always related to what an administrator or school district has deemed important. There always had to be a connection from my goals to the building and/or district goals.

This year, I get to set my own professional development goals. I set the bar pretty high, but I feel that as a teacher I should be held to a higher standard than most people in other professions. I am fortunate to work with 7th grade students, in a state where teachers are pushing the boundaries of education, and I am connected via social media to world renowned professionals.

I think that with the proper administrative support and a little pushing from my PLN, that I can achieve my goals. I know that I will not be able to accomplish my goals over night, but I think that they are definitely achievable if I arise each day with the proper mindset.

Goal #1: I want to be a positive role model for my students, fellow staff members, and my PLN.

This goal should be in everyone’s top five list. Like most of you, I have students from all walks of life and every type of family situation. Many of my students have not had positive male role models in their lives. I feel that I need to live the Gospel message every day and try to walk in the footsteps of giants. I want every one of my students to be successful in world history this year. I want every student to see how history influences their lives every day, that they matter in this world.Image courtesy of

Just showing up with a positive attitude each day and a fully realized plan is half the battle. I mean, anyone can do those two things on a daily basis, right? It sounds easier than it actually is, but the commitment should be there. Leading by example should be a positive, easily achievable goal also, yet it is taxing when there are so many unmotivated people. It feels like the energy is literally being drained from the body because of the reactions and actions of a few. As a teacher I need to fight this unmotivated drain by getting all my students as excited about learning as I am. I need to be the model.

Goal #2: I want to gamify my classroom and course.

CivIVI never thought that I would even be thinking in gaming terms to try and motivate my students. I have just begun researching gamification and I find that through others successes I can model their success and help bring new life to my students and their work in my classroom. I am hoping that student achievement, motivation, and self-directed learning will increase as I develop the gaming aspects into my class.

I definitely need to be on the lookout for fresh resources and collaborate with people like @MrDPasion, @avantgame, Dr. Kurt Squire, and @constances. If you think of any others, please let me know via twitter (@scholzet) or in the comments section. I definitely am going to begin doing this with my current students, but I need to work out how to make it work with an antiquated grading and reporting system.

Goal #3: I aspire to become a sought after keynote speaker on topics like Social Studies and S.T.E.M.x, Massive Multiplayer Classrooms, the #flatclass project, and Educational Technology in the Middle.

I know that with this particular goal I might have to start small. I mean, I don’t see ISTE knocking on my door any time soon, but that is what I aspire to be. Not only do I want to be an awesome teacher, but I want to share my joys and sorrows, my passion for teaching with teachers who might be doubting their own abilities. Teachers who don’t believe that they have a creative bone in their body. Teachers who want to make their classrooms and students ROCK! Can I really be that guy? Someone once said that nothing is impossible, so I figure that if I surround my self with the right people, that they just might help me make this happen, I mean stranger things have happened, right?

Goal #4: I want to reach the pinnacle of education by receiving a doctorate degree in educational technology.

There is a professor at NC State (her name escapes me) who is working on developing lessons on the Grand Challenges of Engineering. Not only would I like to be helping her develop and try those lessons with my S.T.E.M. Design students, but I would like to become a teaching professor of educational technology for pre-service teachers. I know this one is down the road somewhat, but I believe in long range planning and I need to walk the walk with my students. I’m not the most brilliant mathematician in the world (statistics aren’t me according to my most recent GRE scores), but I have skills in research and I believe that my research should be action research in my classroom any way. If it happens, I will have achieved my ultimate educational dream. Will the learning end? Nope, it will always be pushing me forward because I will never know enough.

Goal #5: I want to be the best S.T.E.M.x Social Studies Teacher in North America! It could happen.

I figure that I should set the target out there, for it is better to aim and miss than to have never tried. Someone said that once. Also, in reading Dave Burgess’s (@burgessdave) book Teach Like a Pirate, I found that as a teacher I should not be afraid to want to be the best. Parents, students, and school districts would rather have someone who is constantly seeking to improve and to be the best than to have a group of mediocre teachers who are just there for the vacations and a pay check.


In order to achieve this goal I will need to observe Awesome social studies teachers at work. I need to see how they interact with their students, how they present their students with learning opportunities, and I need to see how they find the energy and stamina needed for greatness.

I’m just a middle aged man who grew up in the Midwest and moved to North Carolina to live out my passion for teaching. I have a great wife and four awesome kids. Why would I set such “lofty” goals? I want to model for my own family that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

This post is dedicated to my oldest daughter, Anastasia, who as a freshman in high school is dreaming and achieving and living life to its fullest. She is the inspiration in my life and continually pushes me to be a better father, husband and teacher. Thanks, Stickers 😎