Be SMART, Set Goals

Welcome to 2018! Have you written new professional goals for this year? If you are a teacher, I bet your goals may ultimately be linked to increasing student achievement. As an educator, my ultimate goal is for all students to achieve everything possible within their academic grasp. That means I need to reevaluate and revise all of my goals from time to time, and the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to do that.

Setting and writing goals provide you with written guidelines to follow. They are a way to record and organize the focus and direction of benchmarks you may want to achieve. It is also an exercise that helps you clearly define what you want and why you want it the first place. Without having goals to follow, how can you chart your success? Goals are a way to motivate yourself and devise an action plan. I like to have a short term, long term, and “pie in the sky” goal. Short term goals may be something you want to accomplish in the next month. The long term goal could be to accomplish something in an entire school year, and the “pie in the sky” goal is something a bit out of reach, but still within the realm of possibility. Goals guide and motivate me to be a better educator.

I have been setting goals lately using the SMART goals criteria. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound. These criteria are a guide to setting your goals based on objectives. SMART goals were first introduced in the early 1980s by George T. Doran and used in business management. They are now used in education and even with students.

I learned to set goals many years ago as a young athlete in the sport of alpine ski racing. Having goals was a way to keep me focused on what I wanted to achieve in my sport, but not get discouraged with bumps along the way. I will be working with my cadre of facilitators at AIMS to rewrite our Professional Learning division goals in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to what we come up with, and then setting out to accomplish them. Be SMART and happy goal setting.

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