Last year was great, but it could have been better. I know that and so do you.
The best part of teaching is that our practice, our lives are always a work in progress and the opportunity to get another chance arrives each day; it’s just a matter of how we choose to approach it.
After participating in a riveting #satchat (a Twitter chat that happens on Saturday mornings at 7:30am ET, if you haven’t tried it out... why not try now?) this weekend about goal setting, I’m ready to put mine down in writing.
Even when we meet with success, we should never rest in that comfort. If we want to achieve great things, we must continually model forward movement.
This year I will be teaching mostly juniors and seniors; I take great pride in preparing them for their lives after high school and knowing that when they leave, their successes are a predetermined possibility. It’s all about helping them understand achievement and providing the tools that work for each of them to ensure growth.
Admittedly though, I’ve been doing the same thing for a while now. It’s time to truly shake things up and shift the mindset in the classroom.
Here are some of my long term goals for the year:
- Change the conversation about achievement in my classes, by de-emphasizing grades and discussing learning in terms of standards instead.
- Provide students with more one on one conference time to provide appropriate specific feedback along their learning process, in doing so, giving more time in class to work on projects in lieu of direct instruction.
- What little homework was provided in the past will merely be suggestion or supplemental to aid students in greater success. These assignments will not be graded, but will provide feedback.
- Students will have more control of the content we discuss in class and will be taught how to choose the best groups for their learning. This group work will also not be graded.
- I will make my personal reading transparent to model the behaviors I want to see students practicing. I will also make an effort to engage in dialogues about what they choose to read to show them I value their choices and am interested in why.
- Really work to inspire my colleagues to take more risks and use the professional development committee as a platform for doing that. We need to grow a culture of learning in our school and the only way we will do that is if we are learning together as students as well as teachers.
- Continue to reflect and write daily in an effort to continually improve my pedagogy and relationships with my students and peers.
Given the varied nature of the classes I’ll be teaching, I will need to make specific goals for each as well, but the above will surely serve to support a guiding philosophy about education that is continuing to evolve for me. It’s no longer about the grades and perfection, but rather about the journey and the growth.
Each day will be an opportunity this year to take a risk. Some of them will be met with great achievement and others not so much, but we will work together as a team to learn from the mistakes and continue to propel the forward movement.
Realizing that it isn’t enough to set goals, but benchmarks must be made to measure their effectiveness, I plan to re-evaluate my progress once a month with smaller short term goals. Through check lists and reflection, I will honestly assess my own learning and then share it with my students and colleagues.
What goals will you set for the 2014-2015 year? How will you achieve them?
The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.