I have on my office wall a sheet of A4 paper with my goals on for the year. At the end of last year I typed them out and stuck the sheet on my wall, so that I felt I had some purpose to my life. Anyone who knows me would guess quite clearly that these were my goals: there are running related goals, financial goals, and even a goal relating to my ongoing research of my family tree lineage.
And there, at the top of the list, is my one and only teaching goal: “To become an outstanding teacher”.
Now, this was written, as I say, before the New Year, when I was a slave to the grade. In the intervening period, much has changed with regard to lesson grading (i.e. it has effectively been killed off). I have reconciled myself with the fact that I will NOT be observed as outstanding, because such a conclusion of my teaching, and of my students’ learning, is not possible from a single lesson observation.
But the goal has remained, and the fact it hasn’t yet been removed is partly due to the fact I don’t know what to replace it with. Because I don’t think teaching is as clear cut as the other areas of my life I have mentioned.
My other goals have pretty clear measurement. I can see how much I have in my savings account. I can see how fast I can run a 10k, or a half marathon. I can see my family tree building before my eyes.
Yet in my day job, the one thing for which I am paid, and to which I dedicate the majority of my waking hours, I can’t think of a single goal that I can easily measure which I can solely and easily control. Indeed, in the ‘to be measured by’ column of my goal setting sheet, my teaching goal simply contained the word ‘observation’. That’s no good at all! Even before the shift in thinking, it was never going to be good enough. Now, it is certainly redundant.
With my other goals, I have a plan. I know, for example, that training two or three times a week will bring me closer towards my 10k goal. I may not reach it until my last opportunity for the year in September (indeed, I may not reach it at all), but I have already seen progress this year in bringing my time down by almost two minutes. I know, too, that I am reaching my savings target, because I can see the balance of my savings account increasing month after month.
But I am really struggling to put together a goal for my teaching in the same vein. I know that writing this at this time of year is probably not the best time, and that teacher goals are perhaps best set in September, but I want to pick the collective brains that read this to ask:
- are teacher goals possible?
- what examples are you aware of/have you worked towards in the past?
- how are/were the measured?
I would be really grateful for feedback, either left here or directly on Twitter.
Thanks in advance!