#DigiLitSunday: Balancing Goals & Needs

balance digilit.jpg

When teaching, goals and needs often become blurred due to perspective.  Whose goals and needs are the basis for planning, instructing and assessing?  When are student voices heard?  When are parent voices heard?  When does the community have input?

Today’s topic seemed like an easy one:

Balancing Goals and Needs

YET

This morning I had a lengthy conversation with Mya over coffee.  Her needs seem simple:  food, water, shelter, hugs and kisses, time to play.  How many of those do I define?  How many of those does she define?  I laughed last week as she went nose to nose with an opossum and it was not playing.  As Mya barked, the opossum snarled back.  Not the quiet, placid Mya who walks among the deer without a sound.  Not the quiet Mya who allows Harry the cat to tell her what to do.  So I’ve been wondering what are Mya’s needs and what are her goals?

On this foggy Sunday morning Mya has no need to head outside.  She’s curled up on the love seat napping.  She’s already had her breakfast, her treat, a bit of conversation and she’s now in her own little world.

Are her needs met?  Are her goals met?

Conversation with Mya about basic needs is quite simple.  If either her food bowl or water bowl are empty, she comes and tells me.  Her nose on me is quite telling.  No words are needed.

And when she’s ready to play. OMG!  YES!  She’s bouncing. Or she’s patiently waiting.  That stare.  Those eyes!

And of course, I’m well trained.  When she’s standing, nose against the door, tail wagging, it’s time to open the door for her!

Are her needs met?  Are her goals met?

Because we live in the country, Mya has a LOT of unsupervised, unstructured time outside.  No pen, no fences, no boundary fencing. I like to think that her time outside gives her the opportunity to be an independent free spirit.  (Mya is a Lab and loves recognition for her skills.)

What about balancing my goals and my needs?

My initial draft of this post included a list of goals and a list of needs.  As fast as I listed something in either category, I was deleting it and moving it to the other side.  And then . . . . there were the list items that HAD to be in BOTH categories!  Ay, yi, yi – not productive!  Way too much thinking!

Last week I had the pleasure of learning with and from Cassie Erkens (@cerkens) author of Collaborative Common Assessments:  Teamwork. Instruction. Results. One important point she made was that we must understand the DNA (Desires, Needs, and Assets) of ALL students.

Do we even “know” that information about our students?

So that long conversation with Mya led me to realize this morning over coffee that it doesn’t really matter whether I can specifically IDENTIFY all my goals and needs.  Instead living my life so that I BALANCE my goals and needs in service of being brave and remaining a life-long learner is important.

At home:

Family, Comfort, Love, Peace, Fun, Faith, Joy, Reading and Writing

At work:

Fun, Learning, Collaborating, Equity, Joy, Reading and Writing

In life:

Fun, Family, Reading, Writing, Joy, Faith and Brave Support for a Better World

goals-needs

Can you tell what I am working to “Balance”?

How do you balance your Goals and Needs?  

How do you make sure that all voices are included?

Check out the posts at Margaret Simon’s “Reflections on the Teche” for more ideas / thinking about balance!

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6 responses

  1. I enjoyed reading about your conversation with Mya. Dogs are such great company. Yes, those eyes. I recently read that dogs look you in the eye and it excites their endorphins. Cats could care less. You needed Mya to listen this morning. And she needs you. I think I like the word needs better than goals. Somehow goals always make me feel like I am coming up short.

    1. Dogs are such great listeners. They don’t wander off and yes, “cats could care less”!

      I think goals have become toooo much about numbers instead of about “the learning” and “growth” which is what makes me feel like I’m not accomplishing anything!!! ❤

      Thanks, Mya!

  2. Fran, your intro was a fun way to enter a post. I love the DNA term because understanding the learner’s desires, needs, and assets are what we need to do each day in the classroom and then do the same at home. Have a great day.

    1. Thanks, Carol! Working on some micro-story examples. I find them easier than full stories . . . SOMETIMES!

      YES! Love the “DNA” – so important for our students everyday – at school and at home!

  3. I am intrigued by the book you mentioned and the DNA. When I look at a high wire walker, I realize just hard balancing is…even if I am walking the ground. Finding that balance between home, work and life is a lifelong pursuit for me. Now I am off to check out @cerkens.

    1. Leigh Anne,
      Sometimes I think when we are on the ground, balance is so hard because we don’t notice the “inbalance” until it’s grossly exaggerated! Balance is hard!

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