Teachers are life-long learners and the best teachers continue to hone their craft day after day, week after week, and year after year. Goals are something we are constantly setting for ourselves, and we have goals in many different areas of our lives. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things you want to accomplish, so it’s best that you stick with one area to start and then build from there. As you accomplish one goal after another, you will be able to achieve more and become the best teacher you can be! Want to set a goal and are curious where to begin? Check out these categories for goal setting then choose one that resonates with you the most. You can always come back later and read this article again when you are ready for the next goal area you’ll smash. Focus your goals on these seven areas and you will be living your best teacher life!
Health & Wellness
Your health as a teacher goes beyond your day-to-day nutrition and fitness routine. How much sleep you get each night, water consumption and self-care are really important factors to consider when evaluating your health, and to be your absolute best for your students, being and feeling healthy should be at the forefront of your mind. You can set a goal to turn off your phone by a certain time each evening, or even to go for a walk in the park as soon as you get home from school. We suggest starting small with something you can be successful in. Focus on progress over perfection.
Sample Goal: I will walk around the block before sitting down to watch TV 3 days a week by the end of this month.
Teaching in the classroom is probably the most obvious goal focus area for teachers. Your instructional goal could be something like incorporating a new piece of technology you’ve been wanting to try that was presented at your last professional development training. Maybe you want to focus on incorporating higher-order questioning in your direct instruction. It could even be as easy as posting your learning objectives on the board before you clock out for the day. The better your instruction, the more your students will grow. There are many ways to approach this area of professional growth.
Sample goal: I will incorporate student hand signals in my lessons twice this week to gauge understanding.
Planning for Content
How do you plan for your lessons? How you utilize your prep period and lesson plan can be the area in which you focus your next goal! One way you can set a goal in this area is by batching your lesson plans for the week. For example, you might consider using a lesson planning template and filling in just one area of the template each day. Your “hook” or “opener” might be what you plan on Mondays, your check for understanding could be on Tuesdays, and so on. If you are an elementary teacher, you might focus on planning for Math lessons for the week one day and then your Reading lessons for the week on another day. Either way, the way you plan for the content of your instruction can reap significant benefits.
Sample Goal: I will plan for the entire week of Mini Reading Lessons on Wednesday during my planning period this week using a digital planning template.
Do you consider yourself an organized teacher? There are many things a goal in this area can focus on from the physical space in your classroom to your digital organization. From record-keeping to email inboxes, there is a multitude of options for organization. Keep in mind, your goal can be a small physical space, like your desk, you would like to keep tidy each day, or a large space, like your classroom or supple closet where shared supplies are kept. Remember that as a teacher, you also have a team of helpers through your students. Involve them in your goal! You can even assign a helper to write cleaning responsibilities on the board each day to develop your classroom community even more!
Sample Goal: Our class will keep the pencils in the community bin and off the floor every day this week.
Have you ever thought about setting a timer while you grade your students’ work? Time management is important for teachers. Consider tracking the hours you work outside of the school day, or even logging time spent on specific tasks to increase your efficiency. If you want to focus on time management, you might even ask a student helper to time specific transitions in your class. The healthy competition goes a long way to achieving goals. For example, you can throw a class party if your students are able to consistently line up under the 30-second mark. For more tips on time management, check out our blog post!
Sample Goal: I will track the amount of time it takes me to grade student work during my planning period on Thursday and write down the time on a designated paper near my computer.
You have probably heard of “professional responsibilities” as a component of the standards for teacher evaluation, so it’s no coincidence that we’ve included this as a potential goal-setting area. Communicating with families, developing deeper relationships with colleagues, and even mentorships help teachers achieve desired results in the classroom. Have you considered hosting a parent technology night where you show parents how to log in to their child’s learning portal? What about taking your students on a field trip where they volunteer in the community? Choosing to set a goal in this area is commendable and will pay dividends in the long run. Remember to communicate with your principal and teaching team so everyone is in the loop and can cheer you on!
Sample Goal: I will take my students on a volunteer-focused field trip during the third quarter.
Keeping Up to Date
The field of education is exciting because it is ever-evolving along with our students! Teachers often have plans that include some type of furthering education or professional development. Why not set a goal in this area and kill two birds with one stone? Maybe there is a free webinar that you have been meaning to watch or a book about classroom management you want to read. Remember to ask your principal for support in this area because there are often funds allocated to professional development. You might even be able to attend a state conference paid for by your district!
Sample Goal: I will gain professional knowledge by participating in a 6-week book study on classroom management during the Spring Semester.
Are you ready to live your best teacher life by setting some stellar goals? You’ve got this, so start small and build from there! Setting goals in these seven areas is sure to help you achieve great things and help serve your students even more.