Do you set yearly goals as a teacher? I know we all strive to be a bit better every day than we were the last, but if you’re not setting real tangible goals I hope that this blog post can encourage you to start!
I’ve been fortunate enough to be sticking with the same content for the past… MANY years, so for me goal setting is getting to be quite refined. Of course I’m always up for a new book on classroom management, and I’m more than willing to try a couple new teaching techniques when I learn them. I don’t really keep track of those small tweaks. Instead, for the past 2 years I’ve kept a list called “Things I’m Doing Different This Year.”
Let’s look back to last school year.
As you can see by the cheeky note left by my coworker, this list was displayed prominently at my desk for the entire year. Let me recap my efforts:
- Student Jobs: FAIL. I didn’t know who to give them to at the start of the year as I didn’t know the kids very well. So immediately it showed that my choices weren’t great. Later in the year, when an errand needed to be run, I still just grabbed the closest kid.
Possible refinement: Don’t choose students for their jobs until much later. I assigned them within the first week.
- Vocabulary Quilt: Partial success. Through Teachers Pay Teachers I purchased several sets of fun vocabulary doodles which were conveniently square shaped. I started this two years ago, and saw the potential, so last year I made the kids cut out their square and we added it to a huge growing “quilt.” The biggest problem was that once I had about 130 pieces of small paper hanging in my room in a Middle Eastern climate, there was a never ending need for corners to be retaped.
Possible refinement: student jobs?? (Lol)
- Interactive notebooks: Success! For my first year of implantation, I think these went quite well! Although we didn’t use them every day, I stuck with it all year!
Warning: Be REALLY aware of the mess this makes and how much glue you’ll need for the year (a lot).
- Keep all summatives: Partial success. Ok I did keep them. But it was in a massive, terrifying pile on my desks. When parents came in, I still had absolutely no good way of referencing their students’ work. *sigh of disappointment*
Possible refinement: STUDENT PORTFOLIOS! Read on. I’m planning to do this this year!
- Hand signals: FAIL. I had a dream that I could train my students to signal to me when they needed to use the bathroom, and I even created cute signs to put up with what the signals were. In reality, though, I was consistent in enforcing it and “can I go to the bathroom” still ended up being a phrase that echoed through my dreams.
Possible refinement: Consistency.
- Detention Forms: Partial success. We assign and supervise lunch detentions within my team, so I created a reflection form that the students would be responsible for completing in their time. When the stack ran out, no one made any more copies.
Possible refinement: This year we’re doing after school detentions as an entire department, and someone has edited my reflection form to be even more comprehensive. Hopefully we’ll see it through this time!
- Weekly Grade 7 newsletter: Partial success. Similar to the others listed above, we abandoned this one as a team about half way through the year. Parents who wanted close contact were pretty much already in close contact with us.
Possible refinement: I will probably drop this in the future.
So all those fails is a bit frustrating, but how else can we know that we tried than to reflect? Not everything is going to work. I have that list taped into my diary so that even years from now I can look back on how I’ve grown professionally.
Which brings me to this year! This humble note will proudly hanging in my face at my desk for the entirety of this year!
Alright so here’s a rundown of my goals for the 19-20 school year!
- Provide more optional supplemental material so that my students can take ownership of their own learning and studying. Allow them to practice more with informational text, but still hold their hand by guiding them in the right direction.
- Make the portfolios with summatives!!! Students deserve to have a record of their growth, and I’m going to help them create that this year.
- Presentations. I’ve heard there’s some fun websites that can make presentations more interactive than just uploading the PPT onto Google classroom. Slides like internal summaries that the students must fill in and quick checks for understanding can be interacted with by the students as the class moves through the learning. I wish I knew what these sites were, but as I move into content I’ll ask around and try them
- Agendas. We’re supposed to sign their agendas to let the students go to the bathroom, but I was always too lazy. Going to work on that! We really need a record of who lives in the bathroom and this would help tremendously.
So there’s my super casual goal setting process. Do you keep track of yearly goals in any way? How?