This article on goal setting for the first year teacher explains why you, as a first year teacher, should have a set of goals designed to make sure you get the most out of your first year and make significant progress towards becoming a competent classroom practitioner. It also lists what the author believes are the goals that a first year teacher should aim towards.
The first six to ten weeks of your full time career will be such a concentrated learning experience that the time flies. Suddenly, you find yourself beginning to get some rhythm in your teaching. It is important that you get the most out of this time and the rest of your first year. You must not become complacent or you will fall into bad habits. It is therefore important to go into your first year with a set of goals to help start your career off in the best possible way. A teacher, at any stage of their career, must always be a learner to enhance their skills. They should have a development plan for themselves.
If you have a set of goals, then you will find that the experienced teachers will want to help you along the way even after your first year. Find a mentor who you admire among the staff and use them as a sounding board. I was lucky in my first school to have a principal who was happy to spend time with me on any issues I had.
Therefore, in your first year, develop a simple set of goals. These goals should be flexible and their success should be reviewed as the year goes by. Your mentor could help you evaluate your progress. Your goal setting and planning is not a first year only task. Even in the last year before I retired from full time teaching, I had a set of goals. Remember, you will not achieve all your goals during the year. You may even discard some and add or amend others over the course of the year. This is standard procedure.
To help young teachers to have somewhere to begin, I have put together a list of what I consider the types of goals that should be part of what a young teacher should aim to achieve. The goals do not appear in any order of priority. This is because each new teacher has different skills at varying levels of proficiency. So, bearing in mind their own experience and needs, the new teacher would need to prioritise their goals.
Here are the fifteen goals I suggest the first year teacher aims to achieve.
1. Learn the students’ names quickly.
2. Know the content of your teaching material perfectly.
3. Develop your voice to allow you to use it effectively in different contexts.
4. Plan often and develop an organisational structure for all you do.
5. Be flexible.
6. Perfect the use of your board.
7. Create simple class rules and enforce them firmly but fairly.
8. Create an efficient record keeping scheme and record all data ASAP.
9. Use a variety of teaching strategies.
10. Be a great role model to your class in all you do.
11. Become a powerful listener.
12. Be aware of what progress your students are making.
13. Evaluate all you do so that you might improve what you do the next time.
14. Learn to use the school’s Behaviour Management Plan.
By Richard D Boyce
Over his long career, our author worked with many young teachers and supervised many trainee teachers. During the last sixteen years, as Head of Mathematics in a large school, he was often responsible for inducting first year teachers into his school. He has used that experience to write this article and his eBook, “The First Year Teacher’s Book”. It can be found on the website http://www.realteachingsolutions.com