Real Goals vs. Fake Goals

Since the new teacher evaluation system went into place in NYS, my former school had us discuss goals (SMART goals!) with our supervising administrator each year. I always found that my personal goals – my REAL goals – only lined up somewhat with the “categories” they wanted us to strive towards, and I wound up not really implementing or accomplishing the goals that I had written for my OFFICIAL goals because I didn’t own them. So I figured I would start off my school year by writing down some of my REAL GOALS for a new school and a new year and what I hope to actually work towards and accomplish. Then, if my new school does something similar about professional goals, I can try to make my goals fit their requirements.

My REAL PERSONAL GROWTH Goals for 2016-2017:

  • Familiarize myself with the topics, curriculum, skills, etc. related to 6th and 7th grade math. Figure out the common mistakes and misconceptions associated with those topics, as well as the best teaching pedagogy.
  • Make “I Notice, I wonder” a regular routine in my classroom and figure out activities to use it with.
  • Use number talks/strings (and the worksheets/handouts) from Pamela Weber Harris at least 3 times per week to develop my students’ numeracy. Try to connect the strings to the math that we’re doing in class, so they can gain skills they need to be successful in current units.
  • Incorporate more visual math (a la Jo Boaler) & go back to some of my ideals about what math education should feel like and look like and sound like as seen on
  • Involve my students more in setting up the classroom norms for group work expectations, and teaching them how to work together well. Invest some time in the beginning of the year as well as throughout the year to discuss it.
  • Use google classroom to post homework, projects, and tests regularly. My last school used e-chalk for a class website (and required weekly updates), but my new school doesn’t! So there’s more openness, but I think google classroom may be the way to go since we already use google for our school email addresses.
  • Communicate with parents at least once a month about what’s going on in my classroom – hopefully, I can get parents to sign up for a mailing list of some kind (perhaps using an app like Remind or something). Get better about emailing/contacting parents in advance of problems from the beginning of the school year!
  • Grade assignments in a timely fashion and give real feedback. Focus on feedback (without grades) on a few short assignments (or drafts).
  • Support more student-to-student communication, both within small groups and whole class conversations. Use scaffolds like sentence starters and models and perhaps even fish-bowling to do so.
  • Incorporate real problem-solving activities for my students, not just teaching them skills (as I’m learning new skills!).
  • Focus on teaching specific routines and procedures to students early on, practice them regularly, and be more explicit about the type of classroom we want to learn in.
  • Get to know my students, build personal relationships with them, and get to know the student body of my new school as a whole. How I do this exactly is somewhat beyond me – I think I’m going to need to focus on this skill a bit!
  • Organizing my classroom, where materials are located for student access, etc. is going to be a major task as well.

I’m sure I’ll think of other things as time goes on, but I can’t think of them right now.


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