Many schools will require teachers to turn in written goals for the year at the start of school, but I think all teachers should start reflecting at the end of the year for personal goals as well. Personal and professional improvement throughout the year can only be a good thing, but you would be remiss if you only looked at your goals for the year at the beginning, and did not spend time reflecting periodically throughout the year for the distinct purpose of setting new goals. Here are three different areas to look at when setting your goals: personal goals, organizational goals, and lesson improvement goals.
Personal Goals Relating to Self and Relationships
It is important for teachers to consider themselves when thinking about goals. Improvement of self will lead to a healthier teacher who is better equipped both emotionally and physically to handle the myriad of challenges that come up each day. Improving professional relationships falls into this category as well, considering the fact that the better the working environment, the more focused the teacher will be.
Examples of Personal Goals:
- Have a more professional appearance.
- Remember to have fun and enjoy teaching.
- Stay positive even when things change.
- Form a better working relationship with cooperating teacher.
- Improve teacher-parent communication, with a focus on positive notes home.
- Build better relationships with team and other staff.
- Establish and maintain a classroom management plan.
Organization of Classroom and Materials
Staying organized in the classroom can be a challenge for even veteran teachers. If organization is a weak area, talk to other teachers who are better organized for tips on how they arrange things. The better organized the classroom and materials, the more efficient planning will be, resulting in better lessons. It is also useful to point out here that clutter and excess “stuff” does not make for a more educational classroom. Just because a particular supply is considered educational does not make it useful. Make a point to put unused materials in a box, then only keep those things that you have to get out of the box during the next month.
Examples of Organizational Goals:
- Organize filing cabinets by subject/theme.
- Put things away after using them.
- Plan ahead at least one week.
- Improve documentation for things that happen in the classroom.
- Keep up with grading.
- Collect more samples for student portfolios.
- Maintain two separate files for each child: a regular file for collection of student work, and a documentation file.
- Plan thoroughly, with a desired outcome in mind.
- Create curriculum notebooks. Keep a record of lessons/units and put together notebooks for each of the major themes in curriculum notebooks.
- Organize files by standard.
- Reduce classroom clutter.
Improve Quality of Lesson Plans
Improving the quality of the teacher’s lesson plans will not only produce a more well behaved classroom, but will result in greater student learning, and improved test scores. Making the effort to find areas to improve will be viewed positively by your principal and will help you to feel better about your teaching ability.
Examples of Lesson Improvement Goals:
- Incorporate literature into more lessons.
- Minimize wasted minutes – have extra stuff ready for downtime instead of the fall back of start your homework.
- Spend more time focusing on vocabulary and concept development.
- Introduce weekly learning journals.
- Implement two new strategies that you have learned.
- Incorporate more technology in the classroom.
- Prepare better substitute plans.
- Incorporate more state test practice through instruction and homework instead of cramming before the test.
When considering what professional goals to set, consider choosing one goal from each category: personal, organization and lesson improvement. Take time to set goals throughout the school year to ensure continued improvement all year long.