Professional Development Goals For Teachers

If you’d like to become a better teacher, earn more money, and have more connections with other teachers, you can accomplish those big professional development goals by setting and reaching little goals.

In many schools and districts, professional development is required for teachers, but completing a certain number of continuing education courses is just the beginning. Through consistent goal-setting, you can reach for lofty personal and professional milestones.

Connections And Mentoring Goals
Teacher burnout is very real and can happen to anyone, at any time. One of the best ways to avoid becoming fatigued or disinterested in teaching is to make professional connections. These connections might be with other teachers in your school or colleagues that you meet in online courses or at conferences and workshops.

All types of relationships, including professional ones, take time and nurturing. Make it a point to connect with other teachers and to maintain those connections even when you’re busy or change schools. If you want to “formalize” the relationship, ask another teacher to be your mentor; or volunteer to mentor a new teacher (you can learn as much or more by teaching someone as you can by being taught).

Professional Development Goal Example: Connect with other teachers, one-on-one or in a group setting, at least once a month.

Continuing Education Goals
Continuing education help you become a better teacher by providing teaching tips and strategies, inspiring you to learn and implement new skills, and more. Continuing ed can also give a boost to your paycheck, as many schools and districts reward teachers who continue to learn.

You can take online professional development courses for teachers or attend workshops, seminars, and conferences for teachers.

With continuing education, you can focus on whatever you like, including:

  • teaching techniques and strategies
  • classroom management skills
  • subject matter expertise (for the subject you currently teach or something else that piques your interest)

In a good continuing education course, you’re sure to learn something useful that you can implement or use immediately, including website resources and technology tools.

Professional Development Goal Example: Participate in at least 3 continuing education courses per year.

Certificate And Degree Goals
If you’re looking for a “big, hairy goal,” you can enroll in a graduate education program and attain a certificate or degree. Most graduate schools of education offer online programs, which means that you can participate from wherever you are, without having to relocate or quit your teaching job. Student loans and scholarships are available for graduate school programs, and the investment in an advanced degree or certificate could pay for itself with the salary bump and increase in your retirement benefits.

Professional Development Goal Example: Look at the number of courses/credit hours you need to earn your graduate certificate or degree, and then set a goal for how many you’ll complete per year. For example, if it takes 60 credit hours to earn the master’s degree you want, strive to attain 12 credit hours per year, and you’ll complete your master’s in 5 years.

Salary Goals
Most professions don’t have a direct correlation between professional development and pay increases, but teaching does. Many schools and districts also have retirement plans for teachers, and the higher your pay, the higher your retirement benefits.

“Right-Size” Goals
The example goals listed above are meant to get you thinking, not to set a template for what to do.

The key to successfully reaching your professional development goals is to set “right-size” goals in the first place. Right-size goals are ones that are neither too big, nor too small. The goals should stretch you, but not break you.

Your goals should also be in alignment with your needs. If your most pressing need is to connect with other like-minded teaching professionals, focus on making connections. If you need to beef up your skills and knowledge base, invest in continuing education.

Pick a pace you can sustain so that professional development remains fun, interesting, and engaging – something you can enjoy throughout your entire career.

Education 4 Equity
At Education 4 Equity, we’re committed to helping teachers attain their professional development goals. We’ve created courses that are available 100% online, which include 1-credit, 2-credit, and 3-credit courses. All of our online professional development courses for teachers have been approved for LAUSD salary points, through the Los Angeles Unified School District.