Goal Setting: Turning the Invisible Into the Visible

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This week has been a busy one, prepping for this semester’s placement experience (only four more days!). I’ve been in contact with my co-op teacher (grade 6, here I come!), and my introduction, “get-to-know-you” lesson plan all ready to go. All of this planning and preparing is making me anxious–I’m ready to get this internship underway!

I am very grateful for the opportunity to practice my teaching this semester, and I have set a few key goals that I want to work on during my placement experience:

1. Confidence

As this will be my first time teaching in a classroom (cue the nerves), this semester I would like to work on my confidence when it comes to facilitating lesson plans. I believe that students are able to distinguish whether a teacher is confident or not simply by how they teach–that is, their body language, voice, etc. That being said, there are three main objectives that I would like to work on related to confidence: audibility, speed of speech, and looking down at my lesson plan too often for guidance.

I will achieve this goal by planning and practicing my lesson plans well in advance before I teach them, ensuring that I have enough time to familiarize myself with the material so that I do not need to be constantly looking at my lesson plan to know what comes next. Practicing my lesson plans beforehand will also help me to develop the right tone and speed at which to speak, so that I do not speak too quietly or too quickly when I teach.

To measure this goal, I will have my placement partner sit at the back of the classroom to judge how audible I am. I will also ask my partner count how many times I look down at my lesson plan for guidance.

2. Time Management

This semester I would also like to work on my time management skills when it comes to facilitating lesson plans. This may be difficult at first due to lack of experience, but I would eventually like to learn how to balance time, such that I allow enough time for each part of my lesson, but also ensuring that my lesson is not too long.

To achieve this goal, I will clearly define my objectives for each class in my lesson plan so that I remain focused, and in turn, keep the class focused. That being said, I will also have to learn to be flexible in my teaching. Lesson plans do not always unfold as planned; if my students need extra time, I want to give them that time to ensure that they grasp the concept before moving. As a result, along with practicing time management, I will also have to be able to readjust my lesson on the fly.

To measure this goal, I will outline my objectives for the lesson with my partner during our pre-conference meeting, and I will have her determine whether I meet the objectives during the given class time.

3. Building Relationships

Building relationships with my students is a goal that I set every semester before I enter the classroom. I believe that it is crucial for teachers to build positive, genuine relationships with their students, because it is through these relationships that we identify each child’s unique learning needs.

I will achieve this goal by trying to spend as much one-on-one time with each student as possible. I will take advantage of this time to ask students about lives, their family, their interests, activities, goals, etc., and this will help me get to know who my students are.

My placement partner can measure this goal by observing that I am interacting with each student, and how often I am. Although she will not be able to determine the quality of these relationships, she can observe the development of my relationships with students by how often a students approaches me, indicating that I have built a level of trust with that student.

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