As I watched a TEDTalk from Bryan Stevenson it occurred to me that something his grandmother told him was perhaps the most important key to achieving a large goal. He grandmother told him, “Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.” This is truly an important idea to always keep in our minds. Working towards a larger goal can be difficult, often we get distracted, tired, frustrated and we lose sight of the prize. The journey is long, sometimes too long for a big goal, it requires many little goals. These little goals can trick us up, if we let just them. If one small goal can stop us, that larger goal does not have a chance! At the same time if we only see the bigger goal and we do not celebrate the smaller accomplishments we will never be motivated to forge ahead through the distractions, exhaustion, and frustration.
As I think of students who have very large goals, I have to remember that I need to show them that they have to keep their eyes on the prize. They will have to set small goals, recognize the accomplishments of these small goals and keep their eyes on the prize. Struggling readers are the victim to the causal factors that lead to a weakness in reading comprehension. These readers need precision in their diagnosis and goal setting. They need us to find the one thing that will make the greatest impact first. Then they need to see that success and move forward to the next small goal on the way to the greater goal, making sense of reading or reading comprehension. Being able to keep their eye on the prize will carry them through the distraction, exhaustion and frustration that comes with learning when it is hard. And make no mistake, true learning is hard.
Professionally, I too have to keep my eye on the prize. This is a long journey I am on, and at time I face distractions. At times I am exhausted. At times I am frustrated. I know if I keep my eyes on the prize and hold on I will reach my greater goal.