5 Simple Professional Development Goals to Set Right Now

by Jennifer Guido

Education is ever-evolving, and with that, educators need the ability to continuously evolve as well. Wherever you are in your teaching career, take a step back and evaluate yourself. Here are five tried-and-true professional goals to keep your career moving forward and maximize your instructional time with your students.

Teacher and student sit together at an adult education class

Call on the teacher in the next classroom for support, ideas, and strategies! (MonkeyBusinessImages/iStock)

1. Make relationships a main priority. As an educator there are plenty of important relationships that you have already cultivated in your career, but the most important relationship is with your students. Keep those relationships strong. Continue to develop that trust between you and the student that needs some extra emotional support. Create opportunities for success for that learner that has struggled. Remind those classroom leaders how much you appreciate their extra effort. For ideas on how to reset and strengthen your class community, check out this article!

2. Try something new.  A good idea remains just that until it gets put into practice. How many good ideas have you came up with, but not had the time to develop? Perhaps a colleague shared a lesson or strategy, you saw a lesson plan you’ve been itching to try, or you want to incorporate technology into your classroom in a more meaningful manner. Whatever it is, let your fears slip away and try something new. Click here for inspiration on new lesson ideas!

3. Network locally, then globally. Education is an amazing career with a diverse community of lifelong learners. Building your network continues to build your resources, ultimately impacting the way you teach your students. Set a goal for yourself to connect with those both within your school community and globally. As educators, we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Call on the teacher in the next classroom for support, ideas, and strategies and watch the magic happen! Scan hashtags on Twitter, and develop an online support system. Try the hashtags #kidsdiscover, #edchat, and #edtech for some ideas and instant connections!

4. Let go and let curiosity lead. Teachers that have fun teaching have students who enjoy learning. That is the definition of a positive learning environment! Often, the stress of the profession and the pressure of testing can take it’s toll on the learning environment. Reflect on your lessons – how can you make that paper-pencil lesson more engaging? Is there a way to provide students with more opportunities to guide and create their own learning? Sometimes the best lessons come from letting your students take the wheel, even if that might mean veering off of the lesson plan. Do not be afraid to let go (within reason) and follow the natural curiosity of your students.

5. Relax, and take care of You. This beautifully rewarding career that you have chosen also comes with many challenges, with one of those challenges being time. The school day doesn’t end at 3pm. We plan on the weekends, grade papers after dinner, attend professional development in our free time, read educational blogs before bed…our teacher brains never turn off! In order to avoid teacher burnout, take time for your hobbies or whatever helps you clear your head. Whether that be cooking, yoga, or just free time, make yourself a priority. In order to be the best teacher for your students, you need to take care of yourself first.

However you choose to improve this year, remember that your students will truly reap the benefits of your professional growth and the pride you take in your career as a teacher.


5 Simple PD Goals to Set Right Now | Jennifer Guido 

Jennifer Guido

Jennifer Guido is a third grade teacher at Shields Elementary School in the Cape Henlopen School District in Lewes, Delaware. She has her B.S. from Penn State University in Elementary and Kindergarten Education and a M.S. in Educational Administration. Jennifer is a previous Lead Digital Innovator for Delaware. She has presented at various conferences about teacher leadership and development. Jennifer is on Twitter as @missguidoedu.