Thursday, March 01, 2012

Professional Goals Update

Teaching is a process of research, delivery, reflection and revision led by goals and vision.

Like most educators, I'm a goal setter.  It's a natural process for teachers who have a job that can be limitless. As a parent and teacher there's no end to what you can give or do to support students and children.  Hence the need for priorities and goals.

Last August I created a list of goals.  Those goals actually provided a terrific road map for the year. I reviewed those goals last night and reflected on the success. Now that we're beginning the the final four months of the school year, I want to refocus my goals for best effect.

PLC Goals: Collaborative Skill
If you've been following my posts, you know that I am delighted with our enhanced PLC model as it is a terrific vehicle for moving us from isolated teaching and activity to greater collaboration and shared work.  I've read and written about collaboration and the many benefits it brings to schools and students.  I want to continue my efforts to learn about teamwork, collaboration and shared endeavor.  These are practices we've employed in the past, but the PLC and other system-wide efforts have given us greater resources to develop this approach.  I will continue to research and reflect on this topic.  I also plan to take part in the weekly #leadfromwithin chat (Tuesdays, 8-9 EST) on Twitter that serves to develop one's lens and action related to collaboration, leadership and effective effort.

Feedback and Response Routines: Weekly Targeted Response for Families/Students
In light of new professional standards and recent family surveys, I'll make an effort to employ more systematic practices to provide feedback and response to families and students.  I'll make this topic part of my discussion at upcoming parent conferences by asking families to let me know the types of response and feedback that best support their child's growth and success in school.  I'll also consult my colleagues about their feedback and response routines at an upcoming grade level meeting or PLC.  Finally, I'm meeting with our building administrator to discuss the subject as he has the unique perspective of talking to families about the variety of experiences they encounter throughout our school. (Godin's blog "a habit of attention" provides a good lens for this topic.)

Instruction: Optimizing Instruction for Student Development
I will continue to build my instructional repertoire by focusing on the details related to effective instruction, the little things that help to engage, motivate and respond to students in ways that inspire their best effort and learning.  I will look for ways to build this repertoire by watching coaches teach, viewing videos and perhaps visiting and viewing colleagues and gaining perspective from their delivery.  I'll also consult students with regard to this goal and let them help me.  It will be a good way to model the learning process for students as I develop my skill.

Common Core Standards: Integrating Standards into Relevant, Meaningful PBL/Lessons
The common core standards mean a bit of finesse and change to our current curriculum.  I am going to begin employing these standards by revising the endangered species unit so that it reflects some of the goals we currently don't focus on, mainly specific goals related to informational text and opinion writing.  I hope to work with our English Language Arts director on this endeavor.  I believe that integrating the standards as much as possible into meaningful project work is the way to go.

Preparing for Next Year: Organization, Culling of Ideas/Materials/Processes
The coming months will also mean time for ordering supplies and preparing letters and materials for the start of next year.  I'll start a supply list now, and add items as they occur to me.  Also, when physical energy outweighs intellectual energy, I'll take the time to organize, file and pack up materials we're no longer using as a summer camp will utilize our classroom spaces this summer.  Picking away at that activity now and then will give me the chance to assess which material I want to use again next year and those materials which are now considered outdated and no longer useful due to the infusion of our 50% one-to-one Macbook endeavor.

With goals in place and parent conferences on the horizon, I'm ready to move forward.  I welcome your thoughts, ideas, links and articles related to any or all of the goals above.  By sharing my blog posts with my PLN and others, I've been able to garner terrific support, debate and understanding which in turn has strengthened my work with students.  I look forward to your response.

Personal Health and Happiness
Healthy, happy teachers do the job best.  It's essential that educators make time for this too.