Set teaching goals for yourself

Two women smile at the camera. Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Teaching Goals Overview

The best teachers know that it is critical to take regular opportunities to reflect upon your current teaching and set new goals for your continued growth.  To do so you might consider taking regular opportunities to gather feedback and talk about the students comments you receive with a fellow educator, mentor or trusted advisor.  These discussions are invaluable in allowing you to really dissect what certain comments might actually mean for your own teaching and a best course of action so that you can continue to make improvements. 

Get Feedback

There are many ways to gain feedback about your teaching and you may want to use different approaches at different points in your teaching career.  Depending upon what you are trying to evaluate, you might consider:

You might also gather more informal feedback from your students by asking them at the end of a lesson to complete a short 'minute paper' that describes what they saw as the main point or most confusing point of that lesson.  Either way, when you are soliciting feedback from your students it is important to respond and let them know you value their input.  Learn more about getting and using feedback.

Discuss possible changes with Mentor or Consultant

Sometimes student feedback can be very confusing!  Some students want a faster pace some want it slower - what should you do?  At this point, it is really helpful to talk through any feedback with a fellow instructor, mentor or VPTL Consultant so that you can prioritize comments that need to be addressed and sort out seemingly conflicting student opinions.  Being able to talk through this information with someone can really help to clarify what feedback is most important and how to address it.  They might also be able to suggest additional ways to gain clarifying information from your students.

Set new Teaching Goals

Once you have had the chance to talk with someone, take the time to set some a few goals for yourself.  This does not need to be an exhaustive list, in fact your more likely to accomplish your goals if you stick to 2-3 realistic items and then revisit them in a month or two.  Goals may center around your course content, organization, presentation skills, student interactions, the classroom environment or using new teaching tools.  As you think through possible goals, check-out the following lists that give a few more specifics and suggestions: