As teachers, we want to do our best. We want to be the best in the classroom, the best at making connections with students, and the best at making learning enjoyable. This means constantly setting new goals to achieve, and not being afraid to make mistakes.
Here are 10 professional goals to improve as a teacher:
Avoiding Teacher Burnout
To avoid burning out as a teacher, I recommend you spend an hour every morning writing down 10 professional goals you’d like to achieve. These goals should be related to both your work and your personal life, so that you don’t take them personally. With this strategy, you’ll be forced to be creative and not let one goal dominate your entire day. Instead, you’ll be able to take on the challenges that come your way, while making sure you balance your life. For example, if you’re passionate about travel, you could write a goal of participating in a workshop on the topic, or perhaps you’d like to take on an internship abroad. Either way, you will quickly see that the goals that come up on your list will change every few months.
Using Tech Tools
I’ll start with something a little less daunting and talk about how teachers can make use of technology. Using technology to help with learning and teaching This is by far one of the most important things that teachers can do to help improve their performance. One of the most powerful resources in the 21st century for improving teaching and learning, for example, is online platforms such as: Listening to podcasts Checking out educational websites You’re going to need some time and motivation to go through all of this, but once you’ve finished, you’ll be on your way to a different teaching experience. Which brings me on to my next point…
Recently I’ve come to recognize how powerful tools like Pinterest can be. Using it in my classroom has given me a quick and easy way to share some of my classroom management tips, favorite lesson plans, and great curriculum resources. Here are just a few of my favorite Pinterest boards to check out: Behavior Management, Curriculum, and Technology In my own classroom, I have made the conscious decision to share the photos and other information on my Pinterest boards with the parents of my students. If you’re also like me, sharing this kind of information about your classroom is a great way to show parents that you’re really invested in their child’s learning experience.
Joining an Online Community of Teachers
For many teachers, being in a professional community is a great help. Teachers can talk with others who share the same experiences and understand where you are coming from. Joining an online group, like through FaceBook is a way for Teachers to not only speak about their students’ learning but also to look out for their own health and well-being. You can plan to meet and chat once a week, to check-in and encourage each other. You can vent frustrations, talk about burnout, and find suggestions on what helped others like you. In these online professional groups, you’re working with other people to help make improvements.
Building Strong Relationships with Your Fellow Teachers
It’s common for teacher burnout to lead to unhappiness in the classroom. But building relationships with other teachers can help you get through these challenging times. A group of teachers can get you through sticky situations and inspire each other. You can share ideas, knowledge and most importantly, life stories with one another. You can get some advice from your friends, and you can build that bond between the other teachers at your school. We all have that one teacher who pushes us to excel and help us reach our goals.
Adding More Fun Activities to Your Lesson Plan
I know you’re probably thinking that it is hard to add more fun activities to your lesson plan, but I can assure you that this is definitely possible. Whether you do it at home or at school, trying new things can improve your student learning experience. Remember that fun doesn’t have to be costly. You can do something to add fun to your lesson in ways that are free, fun and yet very effective. These ideas include:
- Introducing a quiz box
- Rewards such as points and prizes,
- Gymnastics boards (including a balance beam and obstacle course).
- Entertainment such as silly string
- Performing skits or stand-up comedy Anything that engages your students, because as they say, “Learning happens in common sense.”
- You can also use social media and technology to create your own fun activities.
To discuss more about how learning happens through play, check out this article by one of our EduMEE teachers, Theresa Yankovoy.
Incorporating New Teaching Strategies
The simplest way to improve as a teacher is to add new techniques or innovative approaches to your lesson plan. Here are a few techniques that I use regularly.
- Enriching the curriculum through technology
- Imagining how new teaching strategies can change learning
- Changing expectations to make learning fun
- Use more interactive, hands-on activities to engage students
- Use cutting edge technology for every lesson
- Create a syllabus that outlines the focus of the entire semester
- Build a new process or strategy that is more engaging
EduMEE has wonderful teachers who use many of these strategies to offer interactive, hands-on, and engaging learning experiences that are enriched through the technology of Minecraft Education Edition and gaming.
Becoming a National Board Certified Teacher
To become a National Board Certified Teacher, you must be:
- An elementary teacher who is planning to teach an elementary general education course in the next two years IEP qualified
- Currently teaching in a school
- Eligible for certification by becoming a member of NBEA, an organization that promotes professional excellence for teachers in North America
NBEA member teachers that teach K-12 are required to renew their certification every two years. If you are already a National Board Certified Teacher, you do not need to renew your certification. Being a National Board Certified Teacher isn’t just a title, it’s a designation that has real meaning and will help you professionally advance as a teacher.
Working Abroad as an Exchange Teacher
Many teachers have experience teaching abroad before entering the classroom. As a teacher you will be able to see other countries, cultures, and learn languages! Whether you live in the U.S. or abroad, working abroad as an exchange teacher is a rewarding way to improve your skills as a teacher. You can select the number of countries that you want to go to, but you will most likely have to live there for at least one school year. You can also choose where you want to go. You can choose a school, or select a certain town. You can be near mountains or in the desert. You can go to a high school or a university. You can go to a city or to a remote mountain village. Along with teaching, there are several ways you can earn extra income while you are living in a different country.
Attending Symposia, Retreats, Conferences, Seminars, Webinars and Other Events for Teachers
These events are excellent ways for teachers to take a break for themselves to learn new methods, improve teaching skills, find new opportunities, learn new technology, network and communicate with like-minded people, gain encouragement, and refresh your passion and love for teaching.
Inviting Parents of Your Students to Collaborate
Your students’ parents want to see you succeed as a teacher.
- Ask them what they need, how they can support you, and what they want their child to get out of your classroom.
- Be patient with yourself Set short-term goals
- Track your progress, using a variety of resources
- Aim to complete new things every quarter
- Even if you don’t do everything that you planned on doing, you will always be learning.