Professional Development Goals for Teachers
As educators, we know there is always more to learn. Even the best teacher needs to make strides to improve.
Sometimes people feel overwhelmed and exhausted because there are so many things to improve. Teachers are no different. There are so many teaching growth opportunities that it is hard to know where to start!
We can start in the same place we tell our students to start – with a measurable goal.
How to Develop Professional Development Goals
Every classroom situation is unique. You are the most qualified person to pick your professional development goals.
However, there are many things teachers have in common. If you need help brainstorming, here are some goal examples to get you started.
Get More Tech Savvy
Nothing is worse than a teacher who does not know ANYTHING about technology. Technology is a powerful tool, but only if you can use it appropriately.
Some of the best teachers I know are not tech wizards, but they can solve simple computer problems. Take the time to learn more about computers, how they work, and how to fix simple issues. Use technology to enhance learning in the classroom. And teach your students how to use technology, too!
Once, I had a professor offer extra credit if we typed up notes using LaTex. In later classes, I was required to use LaTex for all my assignments. It was such a relief to already be familiar with the program. It let me focus on my homework instead of stressing about the mechanics of a new program.
Focus on what you are doing as you do it. When your mind strays from the current task, gently bring it back to focus. Use breathing exercises to help focus your energy and find calm in any situation.
Develop Positive Relationships with your Colleagues
There are millions of teachers across the world, working to provide students the best possible learning opportunities. Take the time to get to know your fellow teachers and learn from them. What works for them? What does not work for them? Do any of their techniques appeal to you?
Just as important as learning from other teachers is sharing with them. Be open with them, share your techniques, and foster an environment of trust. Everyone needs someone to lean on. Working hand in hand, we will be more successful instructors and better people.
Make Learning Fun
Confession: physics is my least favorite subject. I was required to take it in high school and then again in college. In high school, my teacher played videos of someone else teaching, and my eyelids drooped.
In contrast, I had a college professor who brought in electrifying (literally) demonstrations and told pertinent but humorous stories about the concepts. She not only made sure that we understood the material, but she made it clear how it was relevant to life.
Everyone will struggle to find a subject interesting. What can you do to help your students enjoy learning? Integrate games, coloring, stories, and experiments to help your students find joy in education.
Give Students Control
What? But I am the teacher! I designate what students do!
The best learning comes when students come up with ideas about things. Challenge them. Have them do a project where they choose their subject. Let them be creative. Let them bounce ideas off you. Guide their thinking, but let them decide what to do.
Get To Know Your Students
The people that I have learned the most from are the people I knew cared about me. Not because I was a student, an athlete, or anything else, but because I was a person.
Do you know at least one individual fact about each of your students? Greet them as they enter your classroom. Call them by name. Getting to know your students can be unique to you. Find something that works and stick to it!
Apply Your Personalized Talents
Everyone has talents. You are great at teaching, but you have other skills, too! Why not make use of that in the classroom?
Can you invent clever parodies of popular songs that relate to your subject? Are you an entertaining storyteller? Can you use your artistic talents to enhance visual learning in the classroom?
Whatever your unique gifts, use them to benefit everyone!
No teacher has half the influence that a parent has on a child. Encourage parents to become a part of their child’s education. Ask them to volunteer, and hold events when parents can come in. The more involved parents are, the better students will engage and learn.
It’s hard to teach when you are stressed out. It’s crucial for students that you take care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Take 15-30 minutes out of every day to do something you enjoy. It does not have to be something big. You could color, go shopping, or enjoy a snack or drink. It just needs to be something that makes your day a little brighter and helps you reset.
The following tips provide the best results from professional development goals:
- Only work on a FEW goals at one time.
Trying to do everything is ineffective. Pick 2-3 things that are the most important to you right now and re-evaluate in a few months.
2. Be realistic with the available resources.
Maybe you do not have the technology or resources to do complex experiments. Your school policy might be strict about allowing parents to come in. Whatever the circumstance, make sure that your goal is relevant to your situation.
3. Measure success.
Create a measurable objective to know if you have reached your goal. For example, say you want to get better with technology. A measurable goal would be to determine the five most common problems you have with technology in the classroom and learn how to solve one of them each week.
4. Tell other teachers your goals.
Nothing motivates us like having someone else check in to see how we are doing on a goal. Communicate your goals to your coworkers. They will help encourage and inspire you to accomplish your goal.
5. Journal and Reflect
Re-evaluate often how your goals are coming. Set time aside each week to reflect on how you did with your goals that week. Think about what worked and what you will try next week to do better. Journaling is a great way to help organize your thoughts.
The most important thing to remember is to keep trying. Everyone makes mistakes. Do not let your mistakes prevent you from getting back up and trying again.
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Keep working hard to improve yourself, your teaching, and your connections to students in the classroom. Teacher Power supports you all day, every day!
By: Emeline Haroldsen
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Cox, Janelle. “A Teacher’s Professional Development Goals”. TeachHub.com. 2019. https://www.teachhub.com/professional-development/2019/10/a-teachers-professional-development-goals/
Crockett, Lee. “7 Personal Growth Questions Every Teacher Must Ask Themselves”. Future Focused Learning. 2018. https://blog.futurefocusedlearning.net/7-personal-growth-questions-teacher
“8 Tips for Effective Teacher Professional Development”. Tuio. https://tuiopay.com/blog/8-tips-for-effective-teacher-professional-development/