24 Career Goals for Classroom Teachers
Updated March 16, 2023
Teaching is a unique profession where you have daily opportunities to impact the lives of young learners. Setting goals that inspire your work in the classroom can help shape your career growth and inspire your students.
In this article, we share common career goals for classroom teachers to help you improve your effectiveness and motivate your students to learn.
Why are career goals for teachers important?
Setting goals can contribute to your professional development, as well as maximize your effectiveness in the classroom. Career goals for classroom teachers can be broad developmental objectives, such as gaining additional certifications, or they can take the form of revising daily routines, like adding more technology into each lesson. Career goals can also prepare you for evaluations from school and county leaders.
24 career goals for teachers
Here are a variety of goals teachers can set to improve their professional expertise and effectiveness in the classroom:
1. Integrate technology
From online platforms to software tools, education technology continues to expand, offering new ways for teachers to plan lessons, create class content and track student progress. Learning to use this technology gives you more resources for student learning. Make it a goal to use one or two more technology tools in the classroom than you have in previous years. Consider your subject area and teaching style to find the most helpful tools. Use professional resources to discover technology solutions that other educators utilize in their classrooms and incorporate these tools into your daily instruction.
Related: How To Become an Online Teacher
2. Collaborate with other faculty
Working with other teachers to plan lessons and reflect on classroom methods can strengthen your instruction. Sharing ideas and discussing how to improve lessons with fellow teachers provides more opportunities to learn best practices and gives you a chance to improve lessons through peer discussions. Planning with other teachers also allows you to focus on individual student needs instead of using most of your time writing lessons and units for instruction.
3. Network with other teachers
Using online groups to meet and chat with fellow teachers from a variety of disciples and academic institutions increases your exposure to new ideas and resources to implement in your classroom. Gaining the perspective of teachers outside of your community, your state or even your country can provide you with inspiration. Networking also gives you a support base beyond your department.
4. Use cooperative learning strategies
Another goal to incorporate into your classroom is providing opportunities for students to learn through collaboration. Cooperative learning develops real-life skills and adds interest to instructional tasks. Cooperative learning involves more than just putting students into groups to complete tasks, it requires thoughtful activities that allow each student to contribute to solving a shared problem while proving their own content knowledge.
5. Attend training sessions
Teachers often have access to training in different methodologies and classroom practices through school and county workshops. Voluntarily attending training sessions that are relevant to your teaching position can add to your professional qualifications and give you new strategies for the classroom. If you represent your department, share what you've learned with colleagues as a leader in your discipline.
6. Pursue continuing education classes
After attending short training sessions, consider taking in-depth courses in educational theories, content knowledge and methodologies that interest you. Adding certifications for areas like ESL and reading can build your skills and provide more opportunities to work in positions like coach or county trainer. Additional training may also increase your earning potential.
Related: How To Become an ESL Teacher
7. Consider National Board certification
Earning a National Board Certification shows a commitment to fundamental teaching practices and a desire to grow in your professional abilities. Teachers can earn this certification through a series of applications, teaching demonstrations and assessments. To qualify for National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), teachers need at least three years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor's degree and a professional license from the state where they practice.
8. Incorporate games
Using games in the classroom can make learning fun and more interactive for students. You can modify most games to fit educational content. For example, create BINGO cards for content review or repurpose a board game with specialized pieces like question cards that assess student knowledge. Incorporating games at any stage in the learning process can increase student engagement as they learn and review content.
9. Organize your classroom
At the start of the new year, it may be a good time to reorganize the physical and digital aspects of your class. Refresh your filing system for graded papers and digital files. Create new storage areas for supplies using drawers or rolling cards. Consider how you arrange desks to maximize student engagement. You may even want to create a separate space for a classroom library and reading area.
10. Prioritize feedback
Giving students specific and detailed feedback on assignments and tests can help them improve their abilities and provide a foundation for better teacher/student communication. Consider using a feedback form with a rubric and comments section that you return to students with an assignment. Feedback can also mean encouraging students to share their thoughts and experiences after a lesson or unit. You can use in-class journals or digital forms to give students the opportunity to make comments.
11. Create a website
Creating a teacher website can give students, parents and administrators a chance to see what's happening in your classroom. It also acts as a resource for homework, missed assignments, study tools and outlines of course content. While some schools provide a basic website for teachers, you may need to make one on your own through a web hosting platform. Take a basic course on how to develop a simple website, then incorporate uploading digital content into your planning routine.
12. Find new resources
Seeking out new resources to improve your effectiveness in the classroom is an important goal for both new and established teachers. Professional organizations often post lists of popular tools that are free for teacher use. You can also keep a list of resources you learn about through training sessions and meetings with colleagues. Consider reading books and blogs or listening to podcasts related to teaching practices to discover more ideas about useful resources.
13. Use classroom management tools
Tools for classroom management are an important resource to engage students and encourage positive behavior. Teacher apps for tracking student behavior can help incentivize learners to manage their choices individually and in groups. Creating a safe and calm classroom environment allows students to concentrate on learning. Classroom management tools like positive behavior points and rewards can also help reinforce character development in students.
14. Use kinesthetic learning
Another goal that can help maximize classroom engagement is to incorporate movement. Kinesthetic activities that involve motion in the learning process can increase brain function and give students a mental break from traditional learning styles. An activity as simple as tossing a ball around the room to review vocabulary words uses kinesthetic learning to enhance student engagement.
15. Give students a voice
Students can thrive when given choices to guide their learning. When appropriate, let learners choose the content and style of the assignment. For example, provide students with different reading passages that all focus on the same topic. Once they've completed their chosen reading, let students pick a way to respond, such as making a comic strip, writing a journal entry or creating a news article.
16. Make a strategy for parent contact
Designing how and when you contact parents can make it easier when it becomes necessary. Parents may also appreciate communication praising their child or sharing their success on a class project. You can also send out a class newsletter to let parents and guardians know about upcoming units and activities in the classroom or throughout the school. Consider making a form that you can customize for each parental communication.
17. Take time to reflect
Reflecting on teaching is often considered part of an effective teacher's classroom strategy. Some schools ask teachers to submit regular reflections on their lesson plans and student performance with the goal of finding out what worked and what didn't in a lesson or unit. You can also give students the chance to reflect on their learning. Reading student responses may inform your own reflections on a particular lesson or activity.
18. Take a leadership role
Grow your teaching career by taking on a role as a department leader or committee chair. Some leadership positions also come with a stipend or bonus. These opportunities add experience to your resume and prepare you for administrative roles if you choose to earn a master's in educational leadership.
19. Partner with the community
Find ways to involve the local community in school events and educational efforts. Facilitate events like a teach-in where community members give presentations about their careers or guest lecture on certain topics. Connecting members of the community with your school can increase support for students and staff and create networking opportunities for career growth.
20. Include differentiation
Differentiated instruction incorporates varied teaching methods and creates individual goals for a student's education. You can accomplish this by grouping learners by abilities based on assessments and observation or by setting personal goals for each student. Differentiation pursues the same mastery of subject knowledge through multiple delivery methods, assessment styles and coaching.
21. Research best practices
Take time to discover the best teaching practices for your area and certification. Personal study in your subject focus can guide your instruction and give you opportunities to be a leader in your department. By studying emerging theories and foundational practices, you can become a resource for your colleagues and incorporate new ideas into the classroom.
22. Be a mentor
Mentoring new teachers and interns gives you a chance to reflect on the knowledge you've gained from your years of teaching experience. It also allows you to observe others in the classroom and provide helpful feedback to shape their career. Sharing the wisdom you've learned while practicing different teaching methods and interacting with students can guide those new to the field and establish your abilities as an accomplished professional.
23. Sponsor a club
When educators get involved in school activities, students feel supported and develop trust in their teachers. Sponsoring a student club is another way to make a positive impact on a child's life by investing in areas where they find enjoyment. Offering enrichment opportunities can also give you the chance to apply other skills beyond your normal classroom duties.
24. Plan or write a curriculum
Once you've established your abilities and feel comfortable in the classroom, working at the school or county level to plan and create a curriculum can be a welcome challenge. Teachers have the unique ability to shape unit plans based on their understanding of student learning. Having a voice in planning the overall course content in a subject area is an important opportunity for educators.
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