The Most Important Thing to do This School Year

The new school year is fast approaching. That means teachers are flocking to Target for last minute supplies, some are sleeping in to stock up on rest, some are already planning units and materials for the year, and others are stressed about what they will be teaching this year.

No matter what kind of teacher you are, there is something you MUST do before school starts to put you on the right track. 

You need to set some meaningful goals for the year. 

Not goals for your students, not goals for your department, individual goals that you personally want to work towards this year in your classroom. 

My first year of teaching was absolutely chaotic. I was nervous for school to start and then I muddled through the next nine months. I felt detached and I was very unhappy with how the year turned out. I didn’t always understand the point of what I was teaching. I felt locked down with the lessons I was presented with, and at times a bit stifled.

A lot of that was because of my lack of experience, but I also hadn’t set any goals for myself. 

My next year of teaching was a lot better. Although it was still chaotic and stressful, I had made it a point to focus on a couple of things that I knew would help me be a better teacher. And it did! Setting goals before I went back to school and really thinking about what my focus was and how I could accomplish that helped me develop lessons and activities around those priorities.

It also helped me reset my mental attitude throughout the year. When I didn’t want to grade essays and leave feedback, I had to remind myself that leaving better feedback was one of my goals for the year. I sucked it up, took a deep breath, and worked towards that goal. By the end, leaving feedback had gotten easier and I could quickly pinpoint things to comment on. 

As we move towards another year, we all have hopes for the new year: things we want to change, habits we want to instill or break. If you are anything like me, you make little goals all year long to help push you through. But today I want to think about the bigger ones. 

Try to think of 3-5 manageable goals that you want to focus on for the entire year!

These should be goals that will help you to be a better teacher and that you can utilize this year and beyond. 

Write them in your notebook, your planner, or on a sticky note that you can display somewhere. But keep them close and look at them often! Before you put them away, think about what you will have to do in order to achieve those goals.

Here are my goals for the year:

  • Leave work at work, so I can enjoy my time at home.
  • Improve the quality of my writing feedback and allow opportunities for discussions and conferences about student writing.
  • Have a clear objective for each day/lesson on the board for myself and the students.
  • Utilize data to improve reading comprehension.
  • Teach grammar in meaningful and authentic ways.

What are your goals for this year? Let me know what you will be focusing on in the comments below!

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