The beginning of the school year means it’s s.m.a.r.t goal-writing time for elementary teachers.
Goal-setting for teachers involves creating professional, instruction-based objectives in areas where one needs improvement. The power of these goals lies in the execution of the actionable steps created in order to achieve them.
If you dread writing professional goals as an elementary teacher and need a bit of inspiration, the following 10 examples are available for you to copy and tweak.
Why Is Goal-Setting Important for Teachers?
It’s imperative that teachers adopt a habit of continuously reflecting upon and improving their instructional skill-set and knowledge.
The world of education changes often, and it’s necessary to keep up with the latest methodologies and trends.
S.M.A.R.T Goals for Teachers (Examples)
Each of the following S.M.A.R.T goal examples include these characteristics…
T: Time Bound
- Parent Communication
It’s incredibly important to establish positive relationships with the parents of your students.
And it’s essential to do so from the beginning of the school year.
Building and nurturing those parent relationships don’t have to be difficult, but it does require strategic effort.
Some parents may be afraid or intimidated to reach out at first due to less-than-pleasant experiences with their child’s school in the past, so be the first to initiate.
Make this the year that you build positive parent communication from the start.
Let parents know that your door is always open and that you’re receptive to their ideas and opinions, even if you may not always agree.
Furthermore, find ways to involve them in the classroom community throughout the year such as Reading Week, volunteer opportunities, and class projects.
Establishing positive parent relationships will make your year easier.
S.M.A.R.T Goal: For each major holiday within the 2nd and 4th quarters of the school year, I will invite at least 2 parent volunteers to the class to assist students with holiday crafts and activities.
- ESL Strategies
As the population of second-language learners grows, the need for educators who are able to strategically integrate English-as-a-Second Language instructional techniques will become even more vital.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an ESL teacher, having even one student in your classroom with second language needs is enough for you to learn at least a few ESL strategies to put into your teaching toolkit.
Implementing activities and lessons that address ESL learners’ unique learning goals will actually benefit all of your learners.
Participate in ESL professional development workshops as much as possible or better yet, obtain ESL teaching certification.
S.M.A.R.T Goal Example: For the 2019-2020 school year, I will participate in 15 hours of ESL professional development.
- Readers’ Theater Scripts
Readers’ theater scripts aren’t just for school holiday events.
Easily integrate these scripts into any subject area, and watch your kids’ reading comprehension and fluency soar.
S.M.A.R.T Goal: Each quarter, all students will present one reader’s theater that aligns with a learning objective in math, science, or social studies.
- Virtual Or Stationary Field Trips
Your S.M.A.R.T goals need not be traditional.
Take field trips for instance.
If you’re not able to take your elementary students on a field trip, why not bring “field trips” to them?
Not only are stationary field trips easier to arrange but also kinder on the school budget.
A Spanish teacher at my previous school had food trucks visit so kids could experience foods from different Latin-American cultures.
Another grade level had a representative from a local oil factory teach the kids about proper disposal of grease and oil in every-day life situations.
Virtual field trips are another fantastic option.
Technology is an incredible thing, and with it, you can take kids on adventures to places all around the world!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- 20 Virtual Field Trip Ideas for Your Classroom
- Science Virtual Field Trips
- 15 Virtual Field Trips for Kids of All Ages
S.M.A.R.T Goal Example: For the 2019-2020 school year, students will partake in two virtual field trips related to our human body science unit and natural resources social studies unit.
Including an aspect of financial literacy for kids is a great idea for a professional goal, as long as you can meaningfully connect it to a learning objective.
Fundraisers meet this requirement.
One year when I was teaching second grade, a social studies learning objective consisted of teaching kids about empathy towards others.
In my quest to make the objective really stick, my team and I decided to incorporate fundraisers.
The kids showed great empathy towards all of the stray and unwanted animals roaming the streets in their local community, so they voted to raise money for a local rescue animal shelter.
After brainstorming ways to raise money, they decided on selling candy grams.
Parents and local companies donated the candy.
During tech class, the kids printed simple cards with a message about the cause and attached each to a candy.
Then, they advertised and marketed their candy grams to the other grade levels over a period of five weeks.
In the 6th week, they delivered (with the help of parent volunteers) all the candy grams that had been ordered.
In the end, they raised over $600 and were on cloud nine!
What a way to teach empathy while having such a positive impact.
An an educator, do you think you’d like to add an activity such as this to your professional goals’ sheet?
S.M.A.R.T Goal Example: For the 2019-2020 school year, the third grade students will choose a local, curriculum-aligned charity to support by raising at least $100.
- Financial Literacy
Speaking of fundraisers, let’s flow right into financial literacy.
Kids need to learn about money.
Incorporating elements of financial literacy into your curriculum doesn’t have to be anything formal.
There are plenty of teachable moments during social studies and math lessons, but anytime is a good time because money is at the core of just about everything we do.
So consider finding ways to integrate financial literacy into your curriculum, even if it’s once every semester.
S.M.A.R.T Goal Example: During the math money unit, students will participate in two project-based learning financial literacy activities that relate to the overall learning objectives.
- S.M.A.R.T Goals Beyond the Elementary Classroom
You focus almost all of your time and energy on the kids because, well, that’s the job, right?
But what about you?
Aside from your teaching, what else would you like to do within your teaching career?
Are you wanting to become a principal or a math/reading specialist?
Itching to take your teaching career abroad?
What about being an educational consultant?
Maybe you want a Master’s degree or additional teacher certification.
Or is it that you want to stay in the classroom for the next 10 to 15 years, exploring the possibility of teaching other grade levels?
Whatever it is that you want to do, the most important thing is to think about YOU.
Include a teacher goal that is going to help you grow professionally and personally.
S.M.A.R.T Goal Example: Within the next 2 years, I’d like to get my Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction so that I am one step closer to becoming a Reading Specialist within the next 5 years.
- Classroom Systems
Establishing classroom management and paper flow systems at the beginning of the school year serve as the foundation to an “automated” workday.
If you’re one of those people who believe that your teaching life would be so much better with consistent systems in place, challenge yourself to tackle those areas.
Focus on one system at a time whether that be taming the paperwork, grading, or managing classroom behavior.
Concentrating on one thing at a time keeps you sane.
Once you’ve streamlined your systems, you’ll find that your teaching life runs so much smoother.
S.M.A.R.T Goal Example: For the 2019-2020 school year, every two weeks I’ll find one more way to implement another organizational technique to tame the constant paper flow of student work.
- Travel Professional Development
Are you one of those with school always on the brain?
If you constantly have school on the brain (and don’t mind it), I’ve got a little special professional development (PD) info. for you…
Get paid to travel and participate in PD with the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Programs for teachers.
They pay you for participating in professional development, and what’s more, it’s a travel opportunity.
This is a great opportunity to network with other educators.
Though some of the topics offered are not as relevant to elementary teachers, if you’re a person with wide interests, you should find something of interest.
S.M.A.R.T Goal Example: For the summer of 2020, I will participate in a summer workshop at the National Endowment for the Humanities focusing on a topic that relates to material from one of the 4th grade social studies units.
- Project-Based Learning
What’s not to love about project-based learning?
It provides the perfect opportunity for you to observe how well your learners are actually grasping the concepts that you’ve been teaching to them.
Project-based learning also enlivens your instruction.
For example, if you’re doing a unit on Black History Month, you could have the kids create a black history wax museum where they apply all the information they’ve learned.
Another example… if you’re studying geometry, you could have students design a map using various symbols to explain to someone how to get from point A to point B.
S.M.A.R.T Goal Example: For each math unit covered during the school year, students will complete one project-based learning activity related to the primary math learning objectives from that respective unit.
Conclusion: S.M.A.R.T Goal Examples for Elementary Teachers
As an educator, there are so many options for growing professionally.
These examples jump-start your goal-writing process.