From Goal to Action: Teaching

You might not know it based on what I focus on in my writing, but I am a teacher. I’m an elementary music teacher, which brings its own set of challenges and rewards, but I’m also a teacher outside of the classroom. Over the years, I’ve taught professional development classes to my colleagues, I’ve taught in small group Bible study settings, and I’ve even had the opportunity to teach at church on a Sunday morning. (That was a humbling experience).

I’ve always ascribed to the philosophy that, as the teacher, I am the chief learner. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have expertise in a given subject. I do. But it means that my perspective should never be that I have the be-all, end-all answers to everything. My job as the teacher is to foster a love of learning, a love of music, a love of Scripture (whatever my subject may be) in my students. How can I do that unless I continue to be a learner myself?

There have been big changes in my work life this year that I’m still adjusting to. I changed schools, which means I’m learning how to forge new relationships with an entire school full of new (to me) students. The change has been good, and I feel more at home in my teaching in many ways than I ever have. It could be easy to sit back and rest on my current level of expertise.

But. (There’s always a but).

If my role as a teacher is to be the chief learner, then my goal can’t be to reach a level of expertise and then stop. My goal has to be to continue to learn, to stretch, and to grow. Just like I am continuing to stretch and grow as a writer, I need to apply that same mindset to other areas of life, including teaching.

As I’ve been breaking down my other goals for the year, I’ve been sharing my action steps for first quarter. I’ve also been reminding us along the way that we are playing the long game here, not trying to fit everything in during the first half of the year. Which is why my action steps for this goal aren’t actually being implemented just yet. Sure, I’m attending PD at work and always learning more about my students, but my intentional work around growing as a teacher won’t happen until the second, or even third quarter of the year.

Here’s my practical application for this goal this year:

  • Attend a summer professional workshop in a content area that pertains to my day job. (Assuming there are sessions offered in my area that make financial sense to attend).
  • Teach in small group settings as needed by our church family. (Fall 2023)

That’s it! Small achievable steps that will grow me as a teacher, and (hopefully) have a positive impact on my students, no matter what setting I’m teaching them in.

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