California Educator

February/March 2021

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Teacher Goals 2021 • Sleep 7-8 hours a night • Drink water throughout the day • Avoid people who drain my energy • Call a friend when I feel stressed • Ask colleagues for help • Relationships over rigor • Treat myself to chocolate on the regular • Speak up on behalf of my students and the profession I care about helping my students discover books that they love to read, so I am going to expand my virtual classroom library and introduce my students to a variety of genres." Instead of writing SMART goals, try making a list of practices and habits If you swear by the SMART method, I get it. There's a lot to be said about making your goals specific, mea- surable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. But this year, it just doesn't make sense, especially the time- bound part. There is so much out of our control. We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond to them. That's why making a list of practices or habits feels better this year. Your goal might look like: Instead of "This is what my admin wants my goal to be," try "This is the goal that I care about" Confession: There were years when I was up against the professional goals' deadline at my school, and I wrote down something that I knew my admin would like to see and didn't really put much thought into what I cared about. Big mistake. I ended up spending a lot of time and energy learning about new technol- ogy when I really wanted to create a new reading list for my seventh graders. So anytime I worked on my "professional growth," all I was doing was building resentment. This year we are tired and scared, and it feels like all of our nerves are on the outside of our bodies. Don't set a goal for anything unless you truly believe that it matters to you and your students. Goals still matter, even if they have nothing to do with stan- dards or instructional models. Your goal might look like: As years progress, I hope to keep working on best practices for teaching close reading. I have a few strategies that I always use and my kids like them, but I want to dig deeper and see what else I can try." Instead of "This year I will," try "As years progress, I hope" This one came from Tanya, a first-year teacher who shared in the WeAreTeachers First Years! Group on Facebook. If there is any- thing that we need to be reminded of this year, it's that we have many years of teaching ahead of us. Because there's so much uncertainty this year, it feels right to set a goal that we care about and want to work on, while also making it clear that we are going to keep working on it throughout our teaching career. And yes, I know: How will we show we met our goal? The answer is we won't. Process over product, teacher friends. Your goal might look like: 54 CTA & You

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