Slice of Life: Making Long Term Goals

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A couple of days ago, the principal and the assistant principals at my school were going around observing the “learning environment” of each teacher’s classroom.

Fortunately, the principal came during my conference period on Friday, and not when I was actually teaching, which makes it less stressful and disruptive when these visits have to occur.

“I’m just checking in,” the principal waved me down as I attempted to stand up to greet him when he came in. “Just continue doing your thing.”

He looked around my room and scribbled notes on a piece of paper.

“Where is your college corner?” I pointed to the wall behind him. He asked me a couple of more minor questions about my classroom before leaving.

What were my future goals?

Later on, I visited one of my neighboring teachers, two doors down. He teaches history. I asked if any of the admin visited him, and he started sharing how he felt uncomfortable that the principal was taking pictures of his classroom and asking him what his future goals were.

I was surprised that this teacher felt uncomfortable, but I understood his paranoia at the same time. We can never be completely sure of our administration’s intentions sometimes. However, I did not know why, but I started feeling a little jealous that the principal had struck up a more interesting conversation with him.

“What are your future goals, Ms.?” The history teacher proceeded to ask me. I guess I was caught a little off guard. What were my future goals?

I paused for a few long seconds before attempting to answer his question. I mentioned my Edtech masters program that I am currently doing. I shared that I was open to being some kind of part time Edtech coach to support teachers. I still wanted to continue to teach, at least for ten years. I did not want to go into administration to oversee other teachers. I may also be open to applying for the National Board Certified Teachers program.

What if I became the best teacher I could possibly be? Then what next?

He wasn’t sure what his goals would be after he “made it”—as in mastering managing the classroom. He could get a PhD in history, but he would not know where to go from there. He felt stuck in his thinking. What if I became the best teacher I could possibly be? Then, what’s next? Like me, he did not want to go into administration either, but he wanted to teach for the long run.

His question made me think of one the assistant principals at the school. She was a math teacher before. I’m not sure for how long, but she told me that at some point, she felt “bored” and needed a change. So, she became a counselor for a few years. And now, she is an assistant principal.

I personally cannot fathom feeling “bored” of teaching, and I did think this was a good time to bring that up. I just shared, “Well, I feel like we can always improve. We can pick up something new each year to work on. There are teachers out there who enjoy teaching so much that they do not even retire, like my cross country coach in high school.”

Even as I said this, I’m not sure exactly where I would be after teaching for ten years either.

As I march on in my sixth year of teaching, in some ways, teaching has become easier, but in many ways, harder with each step I take. I can only trust that God is leading me on the path he calls me to be.

“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

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14 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Making Long Term Goals

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  1. Your ending w/ a bible verse reminds me that Jesus never stopped teaching. He did not tire of teaching. I taught 38 years and did not tire of teaching, but I did get tired. You’re still figuring the job out; there’s no mastering it completely. As you say, there’s always more to learn. I hope you stay for the long haul. That’s what the profession needs.

  2. I connected with your topic of goals–that was mine, in a sense, too. The field of education has changed so much in the past years, in some ways for the better as different positions become available. I started off as a teacher, became an ARD (IEP committee) facilitator, and now a librarian. Thirty years ago I couldn’t have predicted this path!

  3. Your faith in God to lead you down the path where you’re supposed to be is well-placed. I’ve been teaching for 20 years and left the classroom
    5 years ago to be a coach/coordinator. I miss the classroom everyday, but believe with all my heart that’s what drives me to do a good job—when I stop caring about what goes on in the classroom, I shouldn’t be an educator anymore.

  4. These conversations are so important to have in the teaching profession. The growth involves making adjustments since each year presents new challenges. I remember that feeling when you are a new teacher and seeing seasoned teachers so hard/soft with their students–being given the advice that this comes with time. As much as we try, an authentic calm non-anxious presence is earned through weathering difficulties over the years. You are well on your way with your self-reflections.

  5. It’s so hard to make long term goals because it’s hard to imagine life that far away. But we _will_ come to that point one way or another, so it’s important to have plans ready. It’s been said we overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can do in a decade, so yeah, it’s also important to have goalposts ready because we can actually do great things in a decade. Anyway, thanks for sharing, Jennk!

  6. I’m not Christian, but that’s a beautiful verse at the end! I think long term goals can be so complicated sometimes because once you achieve them, then what’s next? I guess we rest?? 😆

  7. Nice blog. The question of what are your long term goals? Are always on every person’s mind because we all have goals I presume. I too can fathom that teaching can be a daunting profession 🙏, better to switch to another I guess as long as one is close to their goals

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