Set realistic and achievable goals for yourself!
This kid, who ever he or she may be, definitely knows how to set goals that he can reach later in life! All humor aside, I do think it’s a good reminder to us as teachers to do the same (maybe not with hats, but in our classrooms). Teaching any subject is not easy and pressure from school boards, administrators, parents and daily work doesn’t help one bit. As the semester ends, it’s good to evaluate how effective the teaching methods were.
I often set personal goals for myself as a teacher – whether it’s to improve my classroom management strategies (an ongoing process), try different instruction methods, try to be more available for students, work on my pacing and time management, or even to relax and not let the stress build up. This is my fifth year of teaching ESL and I still feel like I haven’t reached my goals yet. I often get so focused that I forget the basic fact that achieving your goals, any goals, takes time.
Set realistic goals for your students, too!
I have to remember the same thing when evaluating the progress of my students. So often, adults expect other people to just know something while forgetting the time it took to learn whatever it is they know. I think that it’s easy to fall into that trap with children – especially when those children seem quite proficient in some subject for their age. I know curriculum requirements constrain the time, but even so, remember that students don’t learn things overnight.
For achieving goals in L2 learning, consistent and frequent review is key! I try to review every other day, restating vocabulary words and definitions, pronunciation, grammar rules and general content retention, in a way that’s easy for the students to recall. Since I teach social studies and basic math skills, too, I make sure that my methods are appropriate for each subject. It’s my goal that my students can retain at least half of what they’ve learnt over the semester. There is a lot of things I need to cover and I know that most of what my students will learn will be forgotten by the end of the year. It’s not that I don’t have faith in my students, it’s just that I know children’s memory skills are still developing and can’t retain as much information at once like adults’ memories.
What are your goals as a teacher? What goals do you hope your students achieve?