01/03/2014 12:02 pm ET Updated Mar 05, 2014

Our Hopes & Dreams for a New Year

January is a time to reflect; reflect back and reflect on moving forward. It is a time to make changes and think about how we can each better ourselves. As a teacher, January always means revisiting the hopes and dreams we created in September with my students. In September my students and I sit down and think very hard about our hopes and dreams for the year. What did we hope to learn? What did we hope to get better at? What were we already good at? Who would help us? January was a time to reflect back on these hopes and dreams and reevaluate. I would always use mine as a teaching point. Looking back at my own hopes and dreams for the year as a teacher, and as a learner, I would adjust as my students listened. What was on course? What needed some adjustment? What needed to be changed?

I always made it a point to teach my students that our hopes and dreams need to be at the forefront of everything we do. They are our guiding principles, and they may need some adjusting as the year progresses. This may seem lofty to do with six and seven year olds, but I assure you it's not and it's necessary. Here's what it looks like. 'Jack's' hopes and dreams in September were:

I hope to learn how to do subtraction.
I hope to get better at writing.
I am good at writing.
My parents will help me.

So in January, I would help Jack to reevaluate how his goals are progressing. "Jack, did you learn how to do subtraction?" I would ask. If Jack replied yes, I would encourage him to think of a new hope. If he was still struggling, then I would help him to think of a way to reach his goal. We would then review the other two answers to his questions, and of course whoever he determined to be his support system would be evaluated as well. 'Were Mom and Dad providing the help he needed?' Helping to guide Jack to think hard about what's going well, what needs to be readjusted and how to move forward are my jobs as his teacher.

As adults we should also use January to make or re-evaluate our own hopes and dreams for the year, thus providing a basis to guide our year. Creating a plan for our year and something to strive for enables us to become more and more successful in our own lives.

I hope to learn about new places by traveling.
I hope to get better at cooking new recipes.
I am good at listening.
My family, friends and husband will help me.

Now it's your turn. Go!