02 September 2013

Professional Goals for the Year

As part of the new PMP programme being implemented at our school we are required to set two professional goals for the year. Setting goals has been an ongoing part of my teaching practice for many years (see here). As I ponder what will be useful and achievable goals for the new academic year I am confronted with my lack of in-depth knowledge of the PYP (Primary Years Programme). Many years ago, on one of my numerous professional development courses a facilitator stated "good teaching, is good teaching, is good teaching". There are things I hold dear in my teaching craft, almost my mantras if you like that guide my daily interactions with children (and if I am honest I consider fundamental to being a 'good/great teacher'. These include:

* The children are the curriculum - While you might plan the most amazing lesson plan, you might have the most wonderful ideas, you may have the latest and greatest resources - at the crux of all teaching is the learner.  So, I value taking the lead from children. I value getting to know children. I value identifying strengths and interests. I value connecting with children and families and I value children.

*Akonga - This is a Maori term that encompasses the value of 'the teacher as a learner, the learner as a teacher and relates to my previous point. I see myself as a learner for life. I value learning from children and other teachers. Just today I asked a 4-year old to translate my English sentence into an the Arabic language. With ease she flicked between both languages and taught me how to say the Arabic words. The smile on her face showed me that she was excited that she was teaching me something. I am a learner for life.

*Nothing without joy - In my experience as a mother, a teacher, a facilitator, a manager and a nature kindergarten educator. Learning is most powerful when it is FUN, engaging, relevant, significant and challenging (PYP Handbook). I value joy, exhilaration, fun and all of the things that give you a positive feeling. As the above quote suggests, I also value childhood. We only get one childhood, the brain makes so many connections in the first few years of life that it is vital to children's development and ongoing health benefits that they experience JOY! When was the last time you felt truly joyful?

While there are numerous other aspects that make a 'good/great' teacher, these are the things that I see important values in my own teaching practice. So, now my challenge is to develop two professional goals for the year.

The PYP and Te Whariki: The New Zealand Early Childhood curriculum (in essence) have many similarities. I will save my thoughts on this for another post. Clearly there are things from each curriculum that are transferable, but what I feel I need to investigate further is the PYP Curriculum, the language and the jargon. This seems like a natural progression into a professional goal.

Professional Goal Number One:
* Develop a deeper understanding of the IB Primary Years Programme.

Possible actions:
* Work with and alongside colleagues who are well versed in the document.
* Compare and contrast Te Whariki and PYP.
* Attend PYP professional development courses.

Professional Goal Number Two:
* Use digital technologies to explore the notion of 'international mindedness'.

My experience with digital technologies in early childhood education has held me in good stead in my new working environment. There are numerous technologies available to us at TKS. I would like to combine my passion/interest in digital technologies with the IB placed importance on International Mindedness and take full advantage of today's technologies.

Possible actions:
* Interrogate my own understanding of International Mindedness
* Look at ways to use technologies to enhance this aspect of my class programme.

Keep posted to see how this journey unravels.


  1. Am loving reading your blog again - thank you for sharing your thoughts and goals for the year. I look forward to following your journey!

    1. Hey Amanda - thanks for stopping by. Finally dusted off the cobwebs. What an experience teaching on this side of the world. Something you should seriously look into "D

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