Prfessional Development for teachers in 2020 is all about learning how to follow through on your goals!

Professional Development for Teachers: 8 ways to follow through on your goals

This time of year, we’re all making plans to better ourselves and move forward with personal and professional development. Whether your New Year’s goals are personal or classroom related, FreshGrade is here to help guide your path to be your personal and professional best.

Making lofty goals is easy, but it’s the follow-through plan that makes our breaks our resolutions. Typically, we start the new year full force—then, somewhere along the journey to our goal, we slow down or get side-tracked. But there are proven steps to achieving goals.

Leadership Professor, John Kotter, explains his 8-Step change model. Kotter’s methodology contains clear steps and a plan for follow-through. These steps work for professional and personal goal scenarios.

All things are difficult before they are easy.Thomas Fuller


Kotter explains that the first step in implementing change into your personal or professional life is creating a sense of urgency around the end result. Is there an immediate problem to solve and a reason to solve it? No matter if you work alone or with a team, this initial spark of urgency to solve a problem will help get you and others started down the path of change. An example of professional urgency might be a realization that too many students aren’t understanding empathy. An example of personal urgency might be acknowledging that a high stress level is impacting your health.

Create a team

It takes strong leadership and support within an organization to create positive change. Find the people within your school or community who can help you organize, lead, and grow your initiative. Often, multiple perspectives can help identify holes in the plan and ways to move forward. If you’re doing something on your own, try to find support from friends, family, or community to help you when you’re winning—or to cheer you on if your motivation wanes.

Create a goal

The vision may be one of the most important parts of this journey. Creating a clear vision sounds easy, but it’s crucial to make sure visions are easy to understand, easy to act upon, and unified through your entire team or support system. To create a vision, define your values, come up with a strategy, and summarize it as simply as possible.

Communicate your goal

It’s important to communicate your vision, and to communicate it regularly. Within this stage, it’s important to address any fears, anxieties, and questions around your objectives. Since change is difficult for many people, talking about fears and aspects of the change will be imperative to move forward. Kotter explains that this is a stage in which you should lead by example to help ease the overall transition for everyone around you.

Identify Obstacles

Every initiative will have blockers and obstacles. Identifying obstacles before you implement any plan helps you prepare for every outcome. Blockers might be things like lack of budget, lack of training, or change-resistant individuals. Taking action quickly in this stage will help with the overall flow of your project, and lead the way to a healthier outcome.

Short-term goals

Benchmarks. Setting a long term goal is one thing, however, sometimes goals can feel daunting—especially if they may take months or years to reach. The best course of action? Creating benchmarks and attainable goals. Breaking down a goal into smaller, more digestible benchmarks will help you and your team better reach the finish line. Celebrating progress is key to enhance moral, and to identify things that are working. Creating benchmarks also helps identify where things might not be going right, and give you enough time to correct them.

Build on the goal

Always look for ways to adapt, optimize, and improve your processes. As an example, if you are implementing digital portfolios in your classroom, be open about tweaks to the implantation process, the communication, etc. Small adaptations in plans over time can lead to increased success.

Integrate the goals into culture

Kotter’s last recommendation is bonding your change with your culture. Take time to talk through success stories, discuss progress, and recognize the positive contributions that individuals and teams have had. Every institution has an underlying culture, and cultivating a healthy one is important to implementing more, positive change.

Join our community and share your goals today!

Post your goal setting activities from start to finish! Don’t forget to tag @freshgrade #freshgrade!

We want to share in YOUR success this year!



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