I won’t make my TpT goal this year – and that’s okay.
In January, like a large portion of Americans, I made a goal for myself. A TpT store resolution. At the time I realized that yes, this was a big undertaking. I gave myself all sorts of pep talks, spoke in clichés (go big or go home!), and told my husband I could do it when he politely told me that I was setting myself up for failure.
I marched along, checking numbers off a crumpled note card. Up until May, I was on track! I created/ fixed/ tweaked 8 products per month. Then my kids got out of school, the weather got nice, and I couldn’t sit on the computer all day. (Actually, I just went to TpT as I typed this and looked at the statistics and saw that since May, I have posted 8 products – my goal for each month, not one summer).
Reflecting on the end of my summer, I was bummed. I beat myself up and wondered how I let this happen when I had been doing so well. Like any person with an English degree, I wrote out my feelings, and I thank you very much in advance for reading my top five list of why I am at peace with not meeting my TpT goal for the year.
1. I am not publishing junk. I refuse. Could I have published 8 new products? Probably. I wouldn’t be proud of them though. I prefer not meeting a goal as opposed to meeting it with fluffy products.
2. Meaningful lessons take time. I want to test materials on students. I want to tweak my notes. I want to rearrange my worksheets or add another for further clarification. I don’t want to scrap material that doesn’t work – but I will take the time to do so if it is in the best interest of students.
3. My goal maybe, a bit, was lofty. I know 8 products would be stretching it, but I have so many ideas! Fun ideas! Ideas to help others! Ideas begging to be turned into lessons! Still, 8 products per month while I work and mother three kids? It was a big order.
4. I am taking lots of time for thinking. When I taught full-time, exhaustion followed me. That guy was everywhere.
Now that I work part-time, I am still busy, but I do have those moments where I can think. I can reflect on lessons. I can brainstorm. I can type an idea, scrap it, and come back to it later. My best lessons – the ones that students enjoyed and I treasure – came from lots of thinking. If I don’t meet my goal because I am thinking, well, I’ll miss my goal for that.
5. I spent lots of time with my kids this summer. We went on vacation, rode bikes, visited parks, climbed trees, had picnics, bowled, hosted sleepovers, attended sleepovers, played with cousins, ate too much ice-cream, picked homegrown tomatoes, chased the dog, read for the library’s summer reading program, and stayed up late.
And you know what? I sat at kindergarten registration on Thursday and looked at my middle child, beaming with confidence in her tiny seat in her new kindergarten classroom. I stood in the hall, bouncing my one-year old, realizing that I would be back in this classroom in four short years, placing her in a tiny seat. Later, I looked at my second grader, nonchalantly assessing his new classroom, asking the teacher about science projects for the year.
And I am glad that I did not hold myself to my goal for the year. I love making products, but I cannot envision coming home from a college dorm room in seventeen years and wishing I could trade these summer memories for more products, more money.
Honestly – of course I want more products in my store. I want all the ideas from my head typed – all those half sheets of paper, scribbled in the night made into fruition. I want to save money for that college dorm room!
As I reflect on missing my goal for TpT, I am at peace. I take the teaching profession (which includes TpT) and my parenting job too seriously to goof them up. If that means missing my goal for the year, not getting those products out there, that is what it means.
We teachers work on a different schedule than others. August brings a time of closure, a time of new beginnings. It can also bring a new meaning to the goals we have for ourselves.
Lauralee Moss, a secondary language arts instructor, has taught for over a decade. She has a B.S. in English Education and a M.A. in Teaching and Leadership; visit her blog for more ideas or store for great products.