Friday, January 10, 2014

Setting Goals as a Teacher

With January one-third over, I thought it might be nice to talk about goals for the new year. When I was teaching full-time, I set goals several times a year. Before the school year began, I’d figure out what needed to be done better this year and set out a plan to make it so. Sometimes this meant taking an online course, subscribing to an education publication, reading a methods book, picking a colleagues brain, or investigating new resources on the web.

Many years, those goals changed based on my incoming students. The year I taught a young lady with Asperger’s Syndrome, no one had bothered to tell me about her diagnosis.  My goal for the year for me was learning how to do Literature Circles well. That went out the window because of the different approaches and strategies I needed to learn in order to effectively teach my student. I took 2 courses and attended several seminars at my own cost to do this. It was worth it.

Other years I worked on making my lessons better aligned with idea of Universal Design, where I could instruct and assess my students so everyone could get the kind instruction and accommodations they needed. I worked all year at that and into the next and would probably still be working on it if I had not retired.


One year early in my career, a half-dozen teachers from our school attended TESA training sessions all year. Our school goal was learning to be more effective in our delivery of lessons. TESA stands for Teacher Expectations/Student Achievement and the course required all of us to observe each of our colleagues and evaluate whether they had met the goals of the lesson. All of our discussions were just between the two teachers so we could get very honest feedback and improve our teaching. What a wonderful goal that was because I used that information and the techniques every single day from then on.

There is always something a teacher can learn to do better. Sometimes it’s working on advanced courses, sometimes doing private research, and sometimes by observation. Lately I have been doing a lot of research online, as I do not have the benefit (?) of professional development at school. One of the sites I discovered a few years ago is The Educator’s Room (

Whether your goals for the year include doing better with inclusion, better relations with parents, how to organize your self, or triumphs and frustrations of teaching, the Educator’s Room has it all. There are book reviews, opinion pieces, and good information. If the Common Core is giving you conniptions, you can find articles there to help you deal with it. If you are finding yourself in a place where you cannot defend the Common Core, you can find articles that share your point of view too.

In the summer, I noticed they were having a conference in Atlanta on June 25th to 27th and I decided to offer to share some of my 37 years of experiences in a workshop on Vocal Music in the Classroom. To my surprise and delight, I was accepted to do the workshop. There will be “real workshops with real teachers,” not experts who haven’t taught before. Workshops cover Special Education, Technology, Math and Science, Differentiated Instruction, Subject Integration, Writing, Common Core, Art, Improv, Music, and much more.

My personal goals for 2014 include keeping abreast of the burning issues in Education and conveying that information through blogging. I have been blogging once a day in 2014 so far and I am certain I can keep marching toward my goal when I continue to research on the internet and read books, and disseminate what I’ve learned. I also have a facebook page for education stuff called It Wasn’t in the Lesson Plan. Come visit and “like” the page! Keeping my goal into the year, I will also be blogging and tweeting from the conference in June. My twitter handle is ka3kcj.

What an opportunity to get started for next year on your personal teaching goals!

Please check out the details for The Educator’s Room (TER) Conference, “Empowering Teachers As Experts” at I guarantee it will be worth your while. Come on down and maybe we’ll even meet!

Follow The Educator’s Room on Twitter  @ #theedroom  #theedconf

 On Facebook  - look for The Educator’s Room

Still learning!

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