Don't allow yourself to float without anchoring to a larger vision. Setting goals helps you articulate that vision. The goals will become the lighthouse guiding you as you make decisions throughout the year. This bright light of vision should shine in front of you to remind you of your direction.
At the start of the school year teachers are often asked to set goals as a part of the evaluation process. Take a different approach this year and make them real, meaningful goals that you truly want to work toward. Stretch yourself to craft goals that will push and encourage you to grow as a teacher.
Sometimes goals themselves seem a little disjointed and scattered, covering several different topics. Here are some thoughts on crafting a larger vision along with matching goals and action steps. This came from my goal setting PD for the faculty at my school. The Prezi for this PD is at the end of this blog post.
1) Start with the mission statement of your school or organization: Hopefully this is already a place where you receive direction and purpose for your job. Break it down and understand the elements and think about the pieces of the mission statement that are related to you and your teaching. Use this step to be sure that your goals will align with what is expected of you if your goals are for evaluation purposes.
2) What is your one sentence? You may be familiar with Daniel Pink's book Drive, where he discusses motivation. The video below explains the idea of the one sentence. Think about YOUR one sentence. Create a mission statement for yourself that summarizes the legacy you hope to leave. Whether you pull from your school's mission statement or not, try to craft a vision that is unique to you and your role.
Here is an example from my blog post Goals Provide Focus.
My one sentence: My goal is to energize teaching and learning by fostering a learning mindset in teachers and students.
- Be a consistent learner and catalyst for change.
- Coach teachers by helping them to align instruction with standards and implement effective teaching strategies.
4) Establish clear action steps. Here is where the practical comes in. I am all about the practical! The trick here is to be specific. What actions are you going to take to attain this goal? Try to make them measurable even if they are simply a specific completed task so you can show progress toward your goal. This is actually sometimes the level we usually work in to craft goals, without thinking before about mission and overarching goals. Now that you have your one sentence and goals, these actions steps should be very clear in your mind. Below is another example from Goals Provide Focus:
Coach teachers by helping them to align instruction with standards and implement effective teaching strategies.
- Work alongside teachers to develop curriculum and plan lessons that reflect purposeful implementation of effective teaching strategies.
- Specifically implement our professional development from Kevin Wasburn's Architecture of Learning and Writer's Stylus courses this summer.
- Continue my pursuit of aligning instruction to standards and implementing effective teaching practices in my 7th grade English class as an example to other teachers.
5) Don't lose sight of your goals! Literally. Make them into visuals! All this goal setting is nice, but if you don't keep a bright visual reminder for yourself everyday, you will start to lose sight of them. Write or type them out and post them somewhere in your eye line everyday. This will remind you to keep the small daily tasks on track with your bigger goals. This is key in Turning an Idea into a Habit, which I recently blogged about.
Try This Tomorrow! Actually - try this right now. If you are having an insight or idea while reading this post, jot down your ideas right away! David Rock says in Quiet Leadership and Your Brain at Work that acting quickly on an insight makes it more likely you will complete the task. It will also take you 5-10 minutes now, whereas coming back to this idea later makes your brain work hard to remember what you were thinking, which will take longer to process.
I need to say thank you to all of the wonderful Tweeps who shared their goals and one sentence statements with me while I was planning this PD! I truly love my PLN: @lookforsun, @bjorth, @vealheidi, @peoplegogy, @jaimevanderg, @amytwhite, @kdwashburn, @ricki908, & @redmondcarol. You are all quoted below in the prezi.