Making the Shift from “Getting by” to “Getting BETTER”

Dana GoodierBlog, Connect Better, Engage Better, Lead Better, Reflect Better


  • Change your mindset from finishing the year by just getting by. Instead, recognize what you learned and how you’ve gotten better.
  • Reflect on how you have improved this year, how you have learned from others, what you’ve learned from PD opportunities offered. Don’t go back to “just surviving” in education. Work together to be better together.
  • Recent interview with Dan Edwards on the Out of the Trenches podcast is mentioned with some quotes.

Are we “getting by” or ending the year “getting BETTER”?

As we end the 20/21 school year, my hope is that we don’t end it with the mindset that we were just “getting by.” How about ending your year realizing what you have learned and what you have gotten BETTER at?

I have interviewed around 100 guests over the course of the last twelve months for my podcast, Out of the Trenches. Several of the guests have been school principals. An interview recently published with Dan Edwards, a primary school principal in the U.K., reiterates the point of not just getting by, but getting BETTER. In his episode (#72), Dan talked about how community cohesiveness among staff in his school got them through the fall term. That way they became more comfortable in answering parents’ questions about the transition to remote learning after the New Year. They built those foundations so when they had to transition from in-person to remote learning and back to in-person, the transition went smoother. “Slow and steady wins the race,” he said.

We could say we were “getting by” in the spring of 2020. This school year we have constantly been learning and perfecting our tools to teach and lead BETTER.

Make sure you're able to make the upcoming school year a time when you're reflecting and taking note of how you're getting BETTER. Click To Tweet

Pause and Reflect

Take a moment to reflect and jot down some ways in which you have gotten BETTER this year. Getting better could mean learning to use and perfecting your use of online teaching tools. It could be learning to observe and evaluate your staff virtually. It could be having parent-teacher conferences virtually, which many have reported as being a silver lining of the pandemic, and something they’d like to keep. You may have learned more about teaching using the Grid Method with Teach Better Team. Perhaps you have joined a Mastermind, such as the Admin Mastermind here at Teach Better.

Lean on Others

Learning from others and reflecting on your practice this year is something that has been easier for some, harder for others. If you’re a teacher who is used to bouncing ideas off colleagues during lunch in the lounge, that was probably not a possibility (at least until you were all vaccinated). Perhaps you have been sending far more emails to your colleague next door than usual, or been attending far more team and staff meetings than you wanted to via Zoom or Google Meet. Think about ways you have learned from those around you, both from those in your building and those you’re connected to online.

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Personalized PD

In addition, many of you have sought feedback from others you don’t physically work with by attending Twitter chats, watching webinars and live streams, and attending virtual conferences. There have been a plethora of resources to tap into during these past 14+ months. I expect as more educators discover what works for them, the bank of resources and amount of peer-to-peer collaboration will only continue to grow.

Don’t Forget

My hope is that we don’t ever go back to a time where we’re thinking we’re “just surviving” in education. Make sure you’re able to make the upcoming school year a time when you’re reflecting and taking note of how you’re getting BETTER. We’re in this together. Another great point Dan Edwards made in his podcast episode is that “we are responsible for our own PD.” 

Tap into resources from others and share your knowledge! Consequently, we are in the midst of a great awakening in the field of education. Be proud of what you’re taking away from it. Don’t forget to take note of your observations through a gratitude or leadership journal.

About Dana Goodier

Dr. Dana Goodier has 20 years of experience in education. She has taught World Languages and English and worked as a middle school administrator. She completed her doctorate degree (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership early 2020. For her dissertation, she researched reasons parents were opting their students out of high-stakes testing at middle schools and how that affected the district accreditation rating.

She often speaks at conferences, providing educators with techniques to minimize off-task behavior and to increase time on task. She is the host of the “Out of the Trenches” podcast, which features educators who share their stories of resiliency. Follow her on Twitter @danagoodier and visit her website at: