If you’re goal-oriented like I am, you may be starting to turn your attention towards setting goals and resolutions for the New Year. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about the projects you’d like to complete and the things you’d like to improve or have time for, on top of the regular stress that often comes with teaching!
Whenever I’m setting goals for either my day, month, or year, I like to break it up into categories to help myself create more focused and less overwhelming goals. There are three things that I, personally, am choosing to focus on this year, which I think could be helpful for all ESL teachers: things to improve, things to maintain, and resources to create or tweak.
Don’t forget to read until the end to download your own goal-setting worksheet!
It’s easy for most people to point out the ways that they could improve, or, in other words, the things that haven’t gone well over the past year. However, it’s equally important to take notice of and focus on things that have gone well and which you’d like to maintain in the New Year. I always have projects that I’d ideally like to work on, but it’s hard to make time to tweak resources I have, invest in or create new resources, and work on professional development. Well, this year I’m making sure that I intentionally set aside time and make reasonable goals to be able to work on those teaching projects!
Below you’ll find some sample questions and more information to help you work through setting goals as a teacher. These goal-setting exercises don’t just have to be for the New Year. Use them to plan a new school year, to plan a new unit, or to work with a new class. Goal-setting is a great practice to help yourself reflect and plan periodically, so that you can become a more focused and intentional teacher.
Learn More About Setting Goals in The Classroom with Your Students in
Areas for Growth
I find it easy to point out ways that I could improve. After all, I’m always very aware of things that aren’t going well in the classroom or issues that are frustrating me. Luckily, these struggles and frustrations are a great place to start when it comes to being intentional about growth.
Take a few minutes to think back on the past few weeks of class and the situations that didn’t go according to plan. Maybe your students have struggled with grammar a lot, but you weren’t prepared to deal with it on the spot. Or maybe the seating arrangement in your classroom is hard to work around, but you haven’t had the time to brainstorm and find something that works better.
Try to be as specific as possible with your goals for improvement. After all, it’s really daunting to try to work on classroom management; however, working on keeping your students focused and speaking during a conversation exercise is much more manageable.
The worksheet in our Free Resource Library (titled, Reflecting and Planning) specifically gives you the space to identify things you’ve struggled with in (and out of) the classroom, as well as set a goal for how to get rid of or lessen that frustration.
Areas to Maintain
It can be more difficult to identify things that have gone well in the classroom over the past year. We tend to focus more easily on the negative. However, maintaining good habits is just as important as creating new ones or getting rid of bad ones.
Take a few minutes to think back over the strategies, activities, routines, and management tools that you’ve implemented recently which have gone well. Don’t let these good habits slip through the cracks. Think of ways that you could take these habits a step further or, at the very least, maintain them.
I tend to work well when I have a schedule in front of me or a way to track my progress. Find a method that works for you, and stick to it! If you’re aiming to maintain a weekly lesson planning session, schedule it into your week (for instance, on Sundays after dinner or Mondays at 7:00 a.m.). Or if you’re looking to introduce at least 3 new grammar concepts per month, put check boxes on your calendar, so that you can track your progress!
Resources and Projects to Focus On
This is perhaps that most difficult area of improvement for me, specifically. I tend to have a lot of ideas and a lot of ideals when it comes to investing in, researching and reading, editing, or creating resources. However, those ideas and ideals often get pushed to the side and never actually worked on.
I’ve found that while I enjoy a schedule, I need to be really flexible when it comes to resources. After all, reading a book tends to often take longer than I expect and creating a resource always takes longer than I expect. With a schedule that is set in stone, it can very quickly become overwhelming when everything is behind schedule.
Make sure you identify what exactly you’d like to work on and complete and be okay with only half of it getting done. Think very practically about what you need to or want to have done in the near future.
Take a few minutes to think about the ESL books that you’ve been meaning to read and write them down. Write down everything you can think of and edit it later. Then, think about the resources that you’d like to create for your classroom and write those down. Finally, create a list of resources that you’d like to improve or tweak (curriculum that you bought but need to adapt or lessons you’ve written for another class and need to edit for your current class).
For more help with brainstorming and editing your list, be sure to download the free worksheet below!
I love setting goals, and I love having structure and guidance to do so. Otherwise, I can get really overwhelmed and carried away! The ‘Reflecting and Planning’ worksheet in our Free Resource Library was created to help you brainstorm and write down your goals for growth. There is space to think about your recent struggles and accomplishments, as well as the resources you’d like to engage in for professional development and the projects you’d like to spend time on.
You won’t want to miss out! Click the button below to sign up to gain access to the Library. Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what you’re working on in the classroom. Let’s start a conversation!
I Want to Hear From You!
What projects or resources are you working on in the near future?
How do you set goals as a teacher?