Math teachers! Do your current goals look something like this? –
“I will help my students do better in math.”
“I will work on developing my skills as a math teacher.”
If yes, it’s time to think again. Goals like these take you nowhere close to where you want to be because of a lack of clarity. These are the types of goals that most people set for themselves at the beginning of the year and forget about in the next two months. If you really want to benefit from goal-setting, you need to change the way you frame your goals. And this is where SMART goals come in.
Want to know more about SMART goals and how they can help you? Stick with us until the end of this blog post as we talk about what SMART goals really mean and give you a few sample goal ideas to help you create your own.
What are SMART goals in education?
SMART goal is a goal-setting system that can be applied to any field or profession. In the context of education, SMART goals are highly specific goals that guide a teacher to bring improvements to their teaching practice and achieve desired student outcomes.
What sets apart SMART goals from regular goals lies in the meaning of ‘SMART.’ Here, the word SMART is an acronym for five essential components that must be included in a goal. These are:
A specific and focused goal has a better chance of being met than a vague goal. For example, “I want my students to improve in math” is an unclear goal that lacks direction. On the other hand, “I want my students to improve in algebra” is more specific, directing the teacher to concentrate more on this math operation. So, a SMART goal should be focused on a particular content area or students’ needs.
A SMART goal is measurable. As in, you can easily and accurately measure the success of your goal by adding in how much progress you want to see in a given time frame. Measurable goals help you track progress and encourage you to achieve better results.
Setting goals is the easy part. Achieving them is hard. To ensure that you work towards attaining your goal without getting disheartened, you must set an achievable goal. SMART goals are attainable, which means there is no need to go overboard. It requires you to set a realistic goal that you think is possible to achieve.
A relevant goal is something that aligns with your objectives and vision. To create a relevant goal, ask yourself the reason for setting a particular goal. Your answer will help you decide if the goal is worthwhile and if now is the right time to add it to your SMART goals list.
Most goals people set for themselves are forgotten with time because they don’t have a set time frame to accomplish them. A time-based goal makes you feel accountable and gives you that extra push to work toward it, leaving procrastination behind.
20 SMART goals ideas to assist math teachers in setting their own personal goals
1. This school year, all my students will show growth through better results in math, and 80% of them will attain the benchmark score in the final math assessment.
2. 85% of my students will demonstrate the use of critical thinking skills and accurate application of algebraic math concepts by earning a grade C or higher in the mid-term math assessment.
3. By the end of this academic year, 90% of my students will secure a grade higher than their current level in the standardized math assessment test.
4. This school year, the percentage of students exceeding the standards on district math assessments will be 10% higher than the previous school year, i.e., 80%.
5. In the 2023–24 school year, my students will improve their estimation skills by 20% compared to the previous year and will demonstrate this in a test on estimation concepts.
6. I will implement one new teaching strategy every two months to help students get better at their math skills.
7. I will incorporate games and activities for building skills of conceptual math into one math lesson every week to build student interest and engagement.
8. 100% of my students will be using educational math apps and interactive online tools at school for 15 minutes two times per week to support their math skills.
9. I will sign up for a three-month educational course to improve my math teaching skills by (date).
10. Every three months, I will share an update with parents through email or a phone call to inform them about their child’s progress in math and involve them in their child’s education. I will count each parent’s response as a measure of achieving the goal.
11. Next semester will include two math and art integration lesson plans and five songs and chants to enhance the fun element of my math class and reinforce math facts and concepts in 100% of my students.
12. I will conduct quarterly math assessments to see how well my students understand math concepts and use the results to improve my teaching practices and student outcomes in the form of better scores.
13. By the end of this quarter, I will come up with a plan to help the weak students in my math class. This plan will include group activities and individualized instruction to boost their overall skills in the subject.
14. Every Friday, I will be sending a worksheet related to the topic that is being taught in the class with students for at-home assignments. Their score will guide me on which subject areas students need more help and practice in.
15. Every two weeks, I will have a session wherein students will use math concepts to solve three real-world problems in class.
16. Every semester, I will organize three one-on-one discussions with my students to understand their difficulties in math and offer solutions on how to mitigate them.
17. By (Date), 65% of my students will solve addition problems up to 10 mentally without using external supports like manipulatives or tally marks.
18. Over the next quarter, I will create three lesson plans to cater to the different learning styles of all my math students.
19. This academic year, I will coach a group of students to participate in the Math Olympiad with the goal of achieving top positions in the regional competition.
20. I will establish and lead a math club at school by the end of this quarter, with active participation by 30% of school students.
Benefits of creating SMART goals for math teachers
When math teachers set SMART goals for themselves, they are likely to experience the following benefits:
- It motivates them to grow in their teaching career.
- It gives them a direction, so they know which path to follow.
- It helps them plan and organize their goals effectively.
- It allows them to monitor their progress and that of their students.
- It helps them avoid procrastination and take charge of completing set tasks.
- They are pushed further to work toward achieving their goals and improving themselves.
Setting SMART goals is the way to go if you are serious about improving yourself as a teacher and making learning impactful in your math classroom. Creating SMART goals may take some time, especially if you’re new to this whole idea, but we bet you won’t regret the time you spent creating them.
Start small with just a few specific goals and feel the difference. Your life as a teacher will be much more focused and result-oriented. This will bring an improvement in your math teaching skills and help build your self-esteem. Your students will ultimately benefit from your new goal-setting approach, as they will observe a boost in their performance and their love for numbers.
I am Priyanka Sonkushre, a writer and blogger. I am the person behind “One Loving Mama,” a mom blog. Equipped with a Bachelor’s degree along with an MBA, my healthcare background helps me deeply understand learning difficulties. I know how challenging it can be for parents to find the right resources to help their children excel in life. So, here I am to blend my healthcare expertise with my parenting experience to create valuable and helpful resources for parents and teachers supporting children with learning differences. If you wish, you can follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn.