Writing A Classroom Mission Statement

Seth Godin at MIT, 2013

Seth Godin at MIT, 2013

Seth Godin, well known American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and speaker, has written a bit about mission statements. He had this to say about it,

It’s so easy to string together a bunch of platitudes and call them a mission statement. But what happens if you actually have a specific mission, a culture in mind, a manifesto for your actions?

The essential choice is this: you have to describe (and live) the difficult choices. You have to figure out who you will disappoint or offend. Most of all, you have to be clear about what’s important and what you won’t or can’t do.”

Wpns Squad, 1st Plt, C Co, 1/505th PIR prior to patrolling Rusafa, Baghdad, Iraq

Wpns Squad, 1st Plt, C Co, 1/505th PIR prior to patrolling Rusafa, Baghdad, Iraq

Every successful organization has a mission statement from an Army squad to a international corporation.  A mission statement defines who you are, what your purpose is, & why that is important. It does not need to define how you are going to achieve your purpose, but it can. It should not be any longer than three sentences.

Oxford dictionary defines the two words as: mission: “A strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling…” and statement: “An expression of an attitude or belief that is made by means of actions or appearance…” Oxford dictionary defines “mission statement” as, “A formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.” (italics mine).

You can find examples of educational mission statements here. Education World has an article on educational mission statements as well. Remember though a classroom mission statement is different than a school mission statement. Your mission statement should support the school’s mission statement and the district mission statement. Even going as far as supporting the state mission for education.

Before you start writing your mission statement you begin with a vision statement. Your vision statement should be a very succinct, concise expression of what you believe. It is a summation of your educational philosophy. So the best place to start your mission statement is to have a developed educational philosophy. Such a document crystallizes what you believe regarding education. The vision statement and mission statement focuses that philosophy into a document that can assist you in achieving that philosophy.

Along with a mission statement, it helps to create a list of core values or beliefs that can help create the environment in which that mission can be achieved. (Core values is a question similar to “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”). Background research can assist in discovering exactly what others have said about your discipline/subject. Such statements can be integrated into the statement.

Finally, the mission statement should include an Overall Approach and Objectives. The approach and objectives part of the mission statement  is more where the rubber meets the road. Here you will discuss briefly how you will achieve your mission statement. You can list overarching or “umbrella” objectives that are more personal in nature than state or district standards. Just remember, your lesson plans need to reflect these overarching objectives.

I realize this is brief. I will build on it as time goes on. If you have questions that will go a long way in helping me restructure this.  Let me know and help me fill this out some.

You can find some old mission statements of mine in my Google Drive. They need to be updated based on new standards.

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(“Seth Godin at MIT” by C.C. Chapman is licensed under CC BY 2.0)
(“iraq” by The U.S. Army ( SSgt Jason T. Bailey, USAF) is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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2 responses

  1. Eric, you are so right on target!

    Like

    1. Thanks Hugh! I took what I learned in the military and applied it to education.

      It’s been a long time since last we chatted. I’m regularly on Twitter if you use it.

      Like

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