The importance of goal setting for teacher professional learning

Goal setting for teachers is vital to professional growth and to help foster an attitude and culture of lifelong learning. Continual professional learning is super important if your goal is to become an effective teacher.

Throughout my career, I have frequently set goals for myself as a teacher. Though at first this was forced upon me by my school, I have come to see it as a vital aspect of teacher professional development. 

Setting goals has helped me to identify areas where I need to improve and also areas that I am interested in and want to develop further. For example, I was very frustrated a few years ago with my students frequently telling me that they were losing their work as their computers updated at random times and they never saved their work as they went.

So, I set a goal to find a solution to this problem and attended EduTech in Sydney in order to try and find a solution. While I went there to check out computers, I ran into a group of tech educators – the EdTech Team, who were connected with Google and introduced me to Chromebooks as well as Google Workspace for education. I really enjoyed learning from them and seeing what they could do. From there, I then attended their Summit in Sydney during the next school holidays and spent 2 days learning as much as I could about these tools. In addition to this, I also began doing the online teacher training provided by Google and sat both my Level 1 and Level 2 Google Educator exams. 

My principal was also interested in the solution so I did further online training becoming a G-Suite for Education Trainer and have recently been accepted into the Google Innovator Program. I now love G-Suite for Education tools and spend a lot of time helping other educators learn how to utilise these tools for their students in their contexts. 

This was not an area that I was strong in originally, but now I present on G-Suite for Education at multiple conferences and have completely shifted my school to G-Suite for Education for the majority of our operations.

Research tells us that setting goals and achieving them is what makes learning joyful.[1] The actual task of learning is tough and hard work, but having goals and sub-goals to help you achieve the greater goals keeps us motivated to continue to learn.

As educators, we should be modeling good learning practices to our students. So often teachers complain about doing professional learning, but I believe that this is mostly because they have not taken the time to reflect on the teaching standards to identify areas of strength, weakness, and interest. Too often teachers attend a professional development session because they liked the title or because they need to, rather than because they have thought it through after reflecting on their practice and want to improve.

If you are an educator I want to encourage you to develop yourself professionally. Seek to become a life-long learner about education and how to do it best, not just well. If you need help I have a course that will help you to reflect on both the Teaching Standards and your school priorities. 

If you would like to complete an online professional learning course to help you reflect on the Teaching Standards and School priorities to set your own professional learning goals, check out our course “Reflecting on Practice”. You can check it out here.

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