You have met your teacher/coachee, built a positive relationship with him/her, conducted an initial observation, and engaged them in reflective conversation. What’s next? Goal setting and action planning! Ideally, goals should be based off of feedback from a formal observation and assessment tool such as the TPOT, ECERS-3, or the CLASS. However, a formal assessment is not essential when first getting started. In my center, I complete a baseline assessment in October, 2 months after school has started. This gives the teacher enough time to build relationships with her students, create a routine, and time to identify any potential challenges. However, goals are set early, usually in September.
As with any goal, it is important that they be meaningful to the teacher/coachee. I am always surprised during coaching sessions how many people do not know what SMART goals are. Let’s do a quick review of SMART goals.
Specific – your goal should be well defined.
Measurable – Be clear on how you will measure progress.
Achievable – Make sure goals are realistic.
Relevant – Is the goal relevant to what you want to achieve?
Time-based – Ensure you have a specific time-frame.
Suppose you have noticed your students do not choose to go into the Math center during free-play. Initial assessments of your students show that half of your students are below average in Math scores. You want to improve your Math center to increase engagement and in turn, increase Math scores. What would a SMART goal be for this?
“Increase 10 out of 20 students’ Math assessment scores by at least 25% by the end of the semester.”
Action planning is an important step in the coaching process. Action plans give teachers the tools necessary to achieve their goal, helps them to stay focused on their goal, and creates an accountability system to keep them on track.
Action plans should include the specific goal they are working on (more than one goal can be worked on at a time), the steps needed to achieve the goal, the resources they will need, the timeline, and the manner in which they will know the goal has been achieved.
Here is an example of an action plan worksheet I use often:
An example of an action step for this example would be: add 5 Math manipulatives to the Math center. Materials or Resources needed: Counting and sorting bears, unifex cubes, pattern blocks, counting cans, numeral puzzles. Timeline: by the end of the week. Goal is met when: 10 out of 20 students Math scores increase by 25%.
I hope this post has been helpful to you. Please comment with any questions.