Monday, October 10, 2011

Big goals in my classroom

I wanted my kids to have vision and big goals like other Teach for India classrooms but I was not finding any excellent way to propose these to my kids. I wanted something that students will be excited about. 

I had written my first vision statement draft: 

To bring out the best academic potential within ourselves and to hone our personal passions  so that when we grow we reach our best paths

It was an appropriate vision statement but it was not at all something that will last in students' memory. So, I kept on deferring introduction of vision and big goals. Today, finally I introduced Big goals to my students. This is how it happened:

Didi : Didi wants to know where you want to be after you finish your second class. Do you want to be a bad second class?

Students: NO

Didi: Do you want to be good second class?

Students: Yes

Didi: Do you want to be as good as Chaddha school's second class?

One Student shouted: Better than that

Didi: Do you want to be better than all second classes in Delhi?

Students : Yes

Didi: There is a second class in Mumbai. Students in that class are very intelligent in English and Maths.  So, we will be second after them.

Students : No Didi. We first.

Didi: OK. What about Japan. Students there are very hard-working. We should be second after them

Students : NOOOOOOOOO. We first.

And I continued to different countries for next three minutes – America, China, Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal etc until kids themselves derived that we want to be first in world.

As soon as they said that, I asked them do you want to be first in this world when you finish second class?

In unison they shouted : YESSS. We are champions.

Then I wrote two words on black-board : ACE ATLAS

And told them the meaning of these words. I knew that both were new words for kids so I explained the meaning. I explained to them this is our Big Goal (another new word for them)

But after this I told them that this is our secret. If it is leaked then all second classes in the world will try to come first. THEY BOUGHT IT!

One of the thinkers said “Didi. Yes they will start studying more than us” (in Hindi)

I said “Yes! So let us make a secret code for our Big Goal. How many letter ACE has?”

Kids answered “3”

“And what about ATLAS?”

Kids answered “5”

“So, from now onwards, we will speak only the code of our Big goal – 35. Don’t tell anyone what does it stands for. Will you tell class 3?”


“Will you tell class 4?”


“Will you tell your brother?”


“If someone asks your big goal, what number will you say?”



“Didi, can I tell my mother?”

“NOOOOOO…Absolutely no one. It is our secret!”

And throughout the day whenever I asked my kids about the big goal, they would say 35. I asked them what it meant. They remembered “ACE ATLAS” and then I asked what does that meant.  “We will be best second class in the world!” was the answer.

Just after their post-lunch toilet break, all kids were making noise, but otherwise noisy Chirag who was surprisingly sitting quietly stood up to say “Didi, world best class!” and started laughing……So I still have a champion who does not believe in his class’ big goal!

There are few add-ons that this big goal has – measurable and realistic criteria to become best class in the world which I will try to publish soon. But I finally gave a kick-start to the big goal  that my kids and I needed badly.

But meanwhile, I wish to share another set of secret code.
Not only big goal of my class will be number 35 but four values as well:

Get Power – of knowledge
Act Right – Always do the right thing
See Clear- Know where are you going
Fly again – If you ever go down, rise up

I have decided to name the teams in my class with four values above – “Get Power team”, “Act Right team” etc. And get kids excited about the number 35 this whole week and for rest of the year!

I was happy to do it and kids were happy to know it! Howzzat?

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