The start of the school year in most school districts means it is that time of year to set teacher professional goals again. Ugh! I used to find this a daunting task, but I have come up with a few strategies to make my goal setting and professional planning more efficient and effective over the years. I'm excited to share some of my “tips and tricks” with you to hopefully ease your back-to-school work load.
Tips for Teacher Goal Setting & Planning
At my school we are required to set three goals. Each goal has a fancy name, but essentially what they break down into are a personal goal, a parent communication goal, and a goal based on student growth projections. If you are a teacher and your school allows you to set general goals you may want to consider these three areas.. If you are a principal you might want to suggest these three areas to your staff when discussing goal setting for teachers. It may just help your teachers narrow down what they want to work on this year.
Tip 1: Combine Goals
For my personal goal, I usually try to tie it into our school wide goal. Most schools have goals that the entire staff is working on as a whole. At my school, for the school wide goal we are expected to keep data and track 'our progress' or 'student progress.' By incorporating both goals together you are only collecting one set of data instead of two.
For example, last year one of our school wide goals was to incorporate more technology into our regular routine. My personal goal was to work on feedback. The goal I set to encompass both was to provide my 5th grade students with at least two pieces of digital feedback monthly.
Tip 2: Work as a Team
For the parent communication goal we try to work as a team – teachers from the same grade level – to write and track this goal. Working in a group makes organizing, planning, and completing this goal much easier.
For this goal, my team decided at the end of every literacy unit, our 5th grade students would use any form of technology to explain what they learned. Then it would be posted on the grade level blog for the parents to see and keep up to date on our work.
Tip 3: Focus on a Critical Strand
For the student growth goal, select a strand from the your English Language Arts standards that is one of the most important ELA strands at your grade level. This strand should also be one that data shows to be an area of need for your students. Be sure to really focus your instruction on that strand and when possible refer back to that strand when covering other ELA strands
For example with my 3rd graders I focused on: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.3
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events. It was easy to tie in strands RL. 3.1 & 3.2 while my students worked on RL. 3.3. Check back for my next post when I will explain more about how I selected this strand to focus on with my students and what interventions I put into place.