Saturday, April 16, 2011

Professional Growth Plan with Goals

Following, is a list of my professional goals to strive toward over the next year (my first year as a professional teacher).

1. Continue to discover the value of technology in an early childhood classroom

Upon having my own classroom, I will strive to include digital mediums, or at least the option of digital mediums, in meaningful ways. My goal is to try at least one digital game with my class over the next year and examine its value for learning. In addition to that, I will take any opportunities that arise to play digital games on my own time.

2. Teach myself and my students critical literacy skills.

I am a sucker for a good writer. Often I’ve had to take a step back and ask myself just how credible a source is, where the information came from, etc. If this is a challenge for me, it will be one for my students. It is a goal for me to commit to teaching my students critical literacy skills, which includes all forms of literacy (visual, audio, etc.). I believe that this is a culture that needs to be established from the beginning through community building where students can trust me and one another.

3. Successfully harmonize the many important roles I have.

You don’t need a lot of time in the education world to realize it is no secret that teaching is a very demanding job. This is not only pertaining to the time it takes to design engaging tasks, organize resources and materials, etc. It’s also related to the mental energy you need when you are fully engaged with your students and their learning. Particularly as a mother, I have found it challenging to harmonize all the different roles I have now. As I embark on my new career, I want to commit to some set hours for quality time in my various roles.

4. Keep connected.

This is possibly my most important goal. In working as an education assistant I have had the tremendous opportunity to see some amazing schools and teachers. On the other hand I have also seen a lot of situations where even the most positive attitude can quickly be snuffed out. It doesn’t mean I will not work in this type of environment. After all, kids are kids are kids no matter where you go. They all have talents and creative minds to expose. However, I believe that, for me to survive and be the teacher that I really want to be, I need to uphold a strong connection with colleagues and mentors that will inspire me, tell me when I’m wrong (and right!), and support me on this adventure. Some of these people will hopefully be teachers I work with, while a lot of them will be from my fellow grads from U of C, my U of C professors, and the amazing teachers all over world that I can connect with through social networking applications.

5. Read books…lots of books.

Anyone that knows me, knows I am a huge book worm. I don’t do a lot of fiction outside of children’s picture books, although I do try to just for the sake of broadening my horizons. Within the next year I want to read the following books:

  • Five Minds for the Future by Howard Garner
  • Waiting for Superman by Karl Weber
  • A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas & John Seely Brown
  • The Element by Sir Ken Robinson
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

  • Educating for Wisdom and Compassion by John Miller

  • Powerful Learning by Linda Darling-Hammond

  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (I’m actually embarrassed that I haven’t read this one yet)

  • and finally, I'll find a fiction book that's all the hype at whatever time I choose to read one

So that's it. I would love some comments on any other great books people have read!

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