As teachers, we all want to grow — that’s why we like to make professional development goals for ourselves. Goals help to keep us in check and lead us to self-improvement. The role of a teacher has many dimensions, and oftentimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out. Setting professional development goals can help alleviate some of those negative feelings and make you feel better about yourself and your career. Here are 10 teacher professional development goals that can not only help lead to a pathway of success, but can also help our students.
1. Avoid Teacher Burnout
One of the best ways to avoid that dreaded teacher burnout you hear so many of your colleagues talking about is by taking some time for yourself. For many teachers, this goal is the hardest because teachers are natural born “givers,” and the idea of taking time for yourself seems unrealistic or senseless. However, it is the best way to de-stress, and in order to be a good teacher, you need to take care of yourself first. Try setting a goal to take time out for yourself once a week. You can start small and do something easy like go shopping, take a nap or a walk, or get together with friends. Any time that you take for yourself will lead you to a happier you.
2. Give Students Some Reign
In a traditional classroom, the teacher is always in control, so for many of you, the thought of giving up that control can be a little scary. However, giving your students some control of how they learn can be very beneficial. It gives students a sense of confidence and pride in their work. It also gives them a sense of purpose and motivation. Ease into this goal by giving students a few options to choose from.
3. Integrate Tech Tools
Many teachers have great intentions to use more tech tools but somehow never seem to get around to actually implementing them. If you fall into this category, now is the time to make this goal happen. If your classroom is not privy to a tablet, but you have one at home, bring it in! If you are scared something will happen to it if the students use it, then you can use its mirroring capability, where students will still get the benefits of the tablet without having to physically touch it. The more your students are exposed to technology, the better they will get at using it for their future.
4. Involve Parents More
Every teacher wants to get parents involved more, but oftentimes day-to-day tasks prevent teachers from doing so. Now is the time to invite parents to actively participate in their child’s education. Encourage parents to come in and volunteer. Assign a family project or invite parents to come to classroom events. There are a lot of ways to involve parents more; you just have to make it a priority.
5. Create an Online Presence
Creating an online presence can mean joining in on conversations with your fellow colleagues, creating your own teacher blog, or creating a website with your students. It means that you are actively involved in the tech world and people know you. This is a great goal for teachers who have a hard time integrating educational technology into their daily routine. With technology transforming the way we live, it is important to utilize it.
6. Cultivate Relationships with Colleagues
Some of you may already know this, but for those of you that don’t, cultivating a relationship with your colleagues can have a major impact on your teaching career. These individuals can be your mentors, your friends, or your go-to people when you are in need. Take time to nurture these relationships because these people may turn out to be like family.
7. Incorporate Mindfulness
There has been a growing amount of research about the benefits and effects of being mindful. All you have to do to get started is to be in the present moment, that’s it! Take time to be in the moment. If you are typing an email, have all of your focus on that email. Each time a different thought comes into your mind that isn’t about that email, bring your mind back to what you are currently doing. You can also try being mindful of your breathing. Listen to every inhale and exhale for a few minutes. You will notice your stress level go down.
8. Encourage More Play
You have probably read a lot about the benefits of play and how it’s essential in a child’s development, but maybe you struggle to incorporate it into your daily routine. If you have learning centers that students go to every day, make sure that one center is strictly for play. If you don’t, carve out at least 30 minutes for students to play.
9. Make Learning Fun
Let’s face it, learning can be boring. Make it fun by turning worksheets into games and lessons into experiments. Take learning outside and give your students more choices. Make it your mission to make learning fun each and every day. If you think the lesson is boring, imagine if you were the student who had to do it. Put yourself in your students’ position and think about how you could make it fun.
Self-reflection can be a powerful tool that can really transform your teaching. Start a journal and reflect upon each lesson and your day. Then find a way to implement positive changes into your lessons. You will find a deeper understanding of not only yourself but also your teaching. This information can only benefit you in your life and career.