Goal Tracking is one of my favourite resources we have created at My Inclusive Classroom! It is an easy to use resource that helps you create a plan for your professional (or personal) growth and stick to it. The resource breaks the process down for you into small, medium, and large components- all with your focus on self development.
The resource is created for teachers by teachers, but the idea can be applied to all professions and different contexts.
If done well, goal setting will ensure your practice never plateaus. Once you implement successful goal setting strategies, your ability to reflect on your teaching will improve. For instance, you will go from knowing a lesson was a complete flop, to understanding why this was the case, and to ensuring this never happens again. Reflection on practice (and, eventually, in practice) is a key component in your professional development- you need to not only know when something worked, did not work, or needs revision, but you need to be able to connect it to understanding and reasons.
When you create a goal for yourself, you are identifying an area in which you want to improve. You are acknowledging that you need to learn more, and you need to grow. That is a powerfully important step in self development: when you start to say 'hey I don't know everything' or 'I can be better', you are opening up your world to learning and growth.
After identifying a large overall goal, you need to create check points or medium goals to ensure you are on track. These medium goals, once achieved, demonstrate that you are on your way to getting to where you want to be (for now). How do you know you are on track to these medium goals?
That part it easy- keep reading!
To ensure you are working towards your big overall goal and you medium goals, you will identify a series of steps or mini-goals that keep you focused. It is these goals that will really help you to reach your goals and to increase your daily reflection. You see, you will keep coming back to these mini-goals as you check yourself:
When you ask yourself: AM I MAKING PROGRESS IN ACHIEVING MY GOALS?
You will look to your mini-goals
and ask youself, did I make these goals today? Why? Why not? What can I do differently? Goal setting, goal tracking, and goal achieveing are all about YOU- so you have to check yourself, be real with yourself, and keep coming back to your mini-goals.
The reason we use mini-goals is to stay on track- if you only check your progress once a month, it is hard to know how you are doing and where your stuggles and strengths can be noticed. Imagine trying to pinpoint where you stumbled when you have a month of experiences to reflect on.
A personal example is I am trying to increase my fitness level from mildy active to active (big overall goal). My time frame is the summer holiday: July & August. How was I going to know that I achieved this goal at this time (I can always be more active and have a much better fitness level- but I am drawing the line)?:
1) When I close my apple rings at least 6 days a week (it is summer and I need to have some fun), I know I am much m ore active than where I started.
2) When I consistently take 15000 steps per day, I know I am much more active than where I started.
How will I know I am getting close: Medium goals
- Closing my apple rings on my watch most days (4-5 days/week over the course of a month)
- Take 12000-15000 steps/day over the course of 4-6 weeks
Despite having a short time frame, it was still important for me to set a few medium goals. I need to ensure I am increasing my consistency over a period of time: I could go out and run 5km for one week and say I achieved my goal- BUT I am trying to change my lifestyle and develop as an individual.
I need to stay on track- I cannot hit those medium goals without a plan! Que my mini-goals:
How am I going to get from where I am to where I want to be?
- join a gym, go a 4-5 days/week
- take my dog out for her evening walk, but aim for 20-30 minutes
- walk places: I live downtown, so why do I drive so often?
These three mini-goals are clear, consistent, and easy for me to follow. I can check myself against them daily, ever few days, or weekly. When I missed a day to two, it was easy for me to pinpoint what I missed, why I missed it, and how I felt about missing it. Exploring those three areas always gave me motivation to get back on track. I feel good with myself when I hit up the gym most mornings (before my monsters awake), I love beautiful summer nights, and I have enjoyed walking around the city-
I know this example is a personal one and not a professional one- but I have been off on holidays for the last two months so my goal setting is more personal at this point. Keep reading my posts and I will be sure to write about my upcoming professional goals as I head back to work on Tuesday.
A few thoughts to leave you with:
CAN BE Easy
Remember, your goals are built by first acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, then honestly assessing where you are now and deciding where you want to be tomorrow; a well-defined tomorrow, that is.