Goal Setting and Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
Goal setting activities can be great for both teachers and students.
By Cathy Neushul
Teachers often have their students participate in goal setting activities. While it’s true that it is a good idea to learn how to set goals, and meet them, from a young age, it’s also a splendid idea for teachers to do the same. Even if you teach the same grade every year, and the standards don’t change, you can challenge yourself by setting goals, and trying new strategies that might take you out of your comfort zone.
The First Step is to Set Some Goals
As a teacher, you know what you excel at and what you could improve on. List a few areas that you would like to grow in, and list a number of goals you have for each. For example, if part of your curriculum involves teaching students about the human body, find some books and online resources that you could use to supplement your knowledge. There is nothing more exciting for teachers and students than sharing something that has just been learned. There are so many fascinating things you could find out about. You could read about the brain, and the functions each area controls. You could also learn about all the things we still don’t know. Students would find it fascinating to know how little of our brains we actually use.
Do Some Internet Research
Another way to supplement your knowledge about a topic is to look up articles and information on websites related to the topic. A couple years ago I came across an article about a scientist’s search for a giant squid. He had spent years searching for a live adult of the species. I shared this story with my students. They were fascinated as I read page about this scientist’s search. Unfortunately, he didn’t find the squid, but we did have a way to discuss the work scientists do in the real world. It is always important to show students how the information they learn in textbooks and through classroom experiments can be used.
Tie Your New Learning to Your Classroom Teaching
Once you’ve supplemented your knowledge of a topic you can start thinking of ways that you can use this information to augment your classroom teaching. For example, if you want to improve the way you teach students about earthquakes you could search for pictures, videos and PowerPoints that focused on this topic. You could bookmark them and put them in a folder for future use. You could also search for interesting lessons on the Internet that you could use to supplement your curriculum. There’s nothing like a hands-on activity for helping students remember information.
This is the Time to Set Goals
Summer is a great time to do some of these goal setting exercises. While you don’t want to devote your vacation to work-related things, you can set aside a little time each week for working on your goals. When you are done, not only will you have supplemented your knowledge, you will also ensure that your students have an even richer classroom experience.