Many of us make resolutions and set goals for the new year for our personal lives, and the beginning of a new calendar year is a great time to assess our professional goals. In an educational setting, we tend to set goals from July through June. But a progress check or a reassessment in January is a good idea to make sure we are still on track for the school year or to make adjustments in the goals that we set six months ago.
We know that those often vague and general personal resolutions, such as lose weight or read more or watch less television, all sound like great goals but they lack specifics and accountability. Our professional goals may include redesigning our library space or working on additional certification and licenses. These are great goals, but they, too, lack specifics about how we are going to accomplish the goals.
Setting SMART goals often increases our chances of succeeding at meeting our goals. SMART goals are defined as follows:
- Specific – the goal clearly states what is to be accomplished or completed
- Measurable – the goal is quantifiable
- Attainable – the goal is doable, within reach
- Results-focused or realistic – the goal has definite outcomes that are achievable
- Time-bound – the goal has a specific time frame
Many schools set SMART goals for their instructional programs and with their school improvement committees. We as individuals can use this SMART goal tool to set both personal and professional goals that are achievable.
For more information about SMART goals, here are a few resources to check out:
- Wikipedia, SMART goal criteria
- Top Achievement, Creating SMART Goals
- University of Virginia, Writing SMART Goals
Author: Deanna Harris
I have spent my career in education as a middle grades language arts teacher, a middle grades teacher librarian, and a coordinating teacher at the NC Department of Public Instruction. During my twenty-three years, I have focused on teaching and learning, student achievement, and teacher leadership. I have worked with beginning and veteran teachers through mentoring, internships, staff development, and professional learning teams.