“Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible with your methods.” As the most bizarre year of my teaching career starts to wind down (23 days, but who’s counting), I’m beginning to think of all my goals for next year. This year due to everything that’s come along with virtual learning (we’ll be virtual all school year and possibly a tiny bit of next year), I’ve struggled with pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and I want to move past that when we return to in-person learning. It was after a conversation with my vice-principal that I came up with three goals.
- I want more evaluations throughout the year, and I want to make them count.
I’ll be honest, going from a school district with a very intense evaluation process to a school with a very relaxed evaluation process really threw me for a loop. I came in expecting a three-day process only to be evaluated without even realizing it had happened. I want something a little more in between the two. Our vice principal went from a substitute to a teacher to a coach before becoming a vice principal, and I would love to utilize her expertise. I want more frequent evaluations, and I want to sit down and create classroom goals together based on the data and get the most out of every classroom walkthrough.
- I want to become more proficient in data analysis.
In 2017 I graduated from the Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College at Arizona State University. Throughout the program, we talked here and there about taking data, but it mostly revolved around behavioral data. At my current school, my first graders participate in DIBELS testing and the NWEA in reading and math three times a year. I understand the basics of both; however, I want to gain confidence in explaining what the results truly mean, particularly to the parents. I just finished reading a book titled, Getting More Out of Progress Monitoring by Curt Foust; I’ve created a data binder with space specifically for our coach, and I am so excited to learn more from her next year.
- Dedicate more time to teach specific social skills
I’ve always been a big advocate for teaching social skills in the classroom, and I have no doubt that it’ll be more important next year than ever before. With so much researched-based social skills curriculum out there, it’s easier than ever to find prewritten SEL lessons. One of my favorites I did with a group of students last school year was a lesson on using our listening ears, and at the end, each of my students got to create their very own listening ears. They loved it!
*I know it can be challenging for teachers to take the shift off of academics at times, especially in those state-testing grades, but the more you take the time teaching social skills, eventually, they naturally begin to weave throughout your academics.
This year has been a whirlwind, but there has been a positive in the fact that I’ve learned a lot about how to incorporate technology into the classroom. So as I begin to move closer into the next school year, I’ll keep that in mind as I try and make the next school year the best one!