Friday, August 19, 2016

Teaching Goals for 2016-2017

Every year, Keith Toda posts his teaching goals. Then at the end of the year, he posts how they went. This is a great example of reflective practice. I’m going to try it this year and see how it goes.

To begin with, my long term goal: by the end of my fifth year of teaching, I hope to have my act together. I’m about to head into my third year. My “act together” means basically being able to define myself as a good teacher. I do not feel I’m there yet. There are many things about me that are “good teacher” material, like a willingness to try new things and dedication to personal professional development. I’m absolutely a better teacher now than I was two years ago when I started.

BUUUUUUUUUUT. I’m not where I want to be yet. Some things that are wrong with my teaching: I don’t have a good handle on classroom management. My planning is… not. abest. I’m disorganized. Last year, I taught essentially no culture at all. For goodness’ sake, I still don’t know how I’m going to be grading students (yes, grading; assessment I have plans for. Grading, not so much.). I rarely make it to after school events. I’m dreadful at dealing with make ups and grading stuff on time. I’m lousy at follow-through generally.

Goals for 2016-2017 (in no particular order)

GOAL: Expose students to (Greco-)Roman culture in a way that helps them develop their thinking and reading skills, and encourages them to make connections to the modern world.

This is a pretty tall order. I could also just say, “Do culture!” which would be a good start. I think keeping in mind the “in a way that” part, however, will help me stay on task and not just give them readings and then get discouraged because they can’t read as well as I want them to.

GOAL: Expose students to more Latin.

This goal has to do with my own output as well as with the materials they encounter. In terms of my own output, I want to shelter grammar less and speak more. I could certainly at least get the basic classroom commands and stuff into Latin, and make more time for some simple PQA every day.
Additionally, I’d like us to read more. Ideally they’d read at least a short paragraph of Latin every day. I don’t know if that’ll happen. It requires either that I write more (see: my organization and planning skills, s.v. “disgraceful”) or use existing texts, for which I don’t really have a great mental map. I mean I know they exist, but I don’t really know what’s where and of what level.
I’d really like us to read something closer to “authentic” texts, but I don’t know if I’m there yet. Maybe next year.

GOAL: Be consistent and firm in my classroom management.

My big plan for this is to use rituals / procedures to facilitate as much management as I can, whatever you want to call them. I’m also planning to have a kind of time-out procedure based on Love & Logic, but I’m really not sure if it’s going to help or not yet. I’m pretty doubtful actually. The biggest thing though is I need to stop being afraid of confrontation and deal with issues every single time they arise. I can do a lot of work on that up front by setting up procedures and clear expectations for when X is okay and when it’s not.

GOAL: Make my classroom a positive environment, especially as regards my own behavior. 

I’m a pretty sarcastic person. I also have a rather dark sense of humor, and my philosophical outlook is fundamentally nihilistic. It shows on my face when people are annoying me. These traits do not lend themselves well to creating a cuddly family love atmosphere in class. I can’t change who I am. That’s not true, actually; I’m a lot more positive and empathetic than I was a few years ago, and about a zillion times moreso than I ever was as a teenager. So, I can change who I am, and my students need me to be a positive, encouraging force… so I need to be that. We’ll see how this goes.

GOAL: Get my curriculum in acceptable shape.

This one isn’t really a personal goal so much as a have to goal. I have a lot of freedom at my school, which is awesome. However, I am supposed to have more of a written out curriculum than I had last year. I’m really supposed to have a week-by-week kind of curriculum with assessments and assignments and lesson plans all built into it. Theoretically the kind of curriculum another Latin teacher could pick up and teach with. Right now I have a quarter-based broad idea for Latin I and a decent idea of what novels I want to read in Latin 2/3/4 (the same roughly because my program is in transition). A good way to do this would probably be to record what I do as I go, at least, so that next year I’ll have something in place I can build off of. See above re: organization, though.

GOAL: Have a GSA that actually supports students and/or increases visibility.

This goal has been really on the back burner. I’m trying to establish a GSA at my school. We don’t have a strong club culture. GSAs are supposed to be student-led. It’s hard for me to balance my own type-A personality with allowing it to be student-led when they don’t really know how to lead things yet. I need to take more of a lead role this year, I think, and over time we can develop a culture where they run it themselves. Well, I’ll try it, anyway.

Anyway, so those are some goals. I don’t know how I’m going to do. I’m pretty anxious about it actually. I could use any and all moral and practical support y’all can offer. How’re you doing? What are your goals?


  1. Hi there! Very interesting. I have just sat down (Jan 1st) to do something similar, and found your goals. So, how are you getting on with them?

    1. Culture - going well, though I kind of took a month or so off from it.
      Latin - they're outputting more but we're actually reading less and I think I may be giving them less oral input, too. Oops.
      Management - ugh
      Positive atmosphere - I still suck at this, although I think it's more positive than some? They mostly LIKE Latin class, but there are some thorny kids who I have trouble being nice to.
      Curriculum - lol nope
      GSA - actually going decently

      Depressing! But maybe your reminder to look at these will help me realign myself in the year to come.