I literally just saw this challenge by TeachThought posted on Facebook a few minutes ago and decided it’s exactly what I need to do, since my blogging is dictated by things like sleep and eating. TeachThought is a cool place to connect and if you’re me, seek out solutions to classroom troubles. Their September challenge is a blog prompt a day. That’s a big step up from one post a…week? two weeks? I am most excited about meeting other bloggers through this! Also, if you’re a teacher and have been waiting around to start a blog, now is the perfect time because TeachThought tells you what to write about for the entire month.
Although my recent post did throw some goals for the school year in there, the very first prompt for the challenge is “What are your goals for the school year?”
Goal setting has always been a problem for me; growing up I really didn’t “set goals.” I had some subliminal things that I would accomplish, but it never came down to that SMART goal process. I had a good setup that allowed me to accomplish the things I wanted to do: graduate high school, get into a good school, graduate from college, get a job…it all just happened because I figured out what I had to do, and did it. I didn’t worry about how “measurable” it was, because who cares?
Nowadays, your goals have to be measurable, and you have to monitor them. At least in teaching. This, to me, is pretty stifling. My husband makes fun of me about hating to measure things (because it’s true), but it also makes me pretty bad at measuring because I refuse to get good at it.
I just completed my “formal” goal for my teaching evaluation for this year. It goes something like this: “Students will make inferences with 80 percent accuracy by using Avid Critical Reading Strategies of Cornell Notes and Marking the Text by the end of April 2015 as measured by the Aspire Assessments.”
BLARG IT’S LIKE NAILS ON A CHALKBOARD
Why do I have this aversion to SMART goals? Intellectually they sound pretty good. I feel like I sound “smart” (heh heh) just saying it. I totally see the value in being able to track where your students are and trying to move them to where you want them to be. But I just want to run the other way when I have to write one. I don’t think it’s fear of failing, although that could definitely be part of it. It could be because this is not how I have ever created a plan to achieve anything in my entire life. It feels inorganic to me. I am not saying this is the wrong way to set goals. Research shows that it works.
I set the SMART goal to comply, do what I can to achieve it, and move on. If you are like me and you teach students who have a poor history of achievement, then you get it. Focusing too much on the measurement and on the assessment to get to that measurement is going to drive you crazy. At least, it drives me crazy.
So here’ s my subversive DUMB (??) goal for this year: Use Avid Critical Reading Strategies to empower students and train them in metacognitive skills so that they can make meaning of texts they encounter in and out of the classroom. This is something I think they need to work on, and my weakest point, I believe, is reading instruction simply because I lack experience.
I also may get to teach part of our fitness classes at school, and our Phys-ed/Health teacher brought up doing barre. Yes, even the boys have to do it. EEk!! So my other goal will be hounding the district to purchase/install a ballet barre in our new school. 🙂
What about your goals, teachers? Do you feel my struggle or do SMART goals come easily to you?
Happy Labor Day!