"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible."
- Attributed to Tony Robbins
As you read this article, I would encourage you to consider the process by which you arrive at your professional development goals and decide which activities, courses, or conferences you will give your time to in the pursuit of your professional development.
Outside of education, my biggest passion (after my family of course) is (association) football, affectionately referred to as the round ball game, and accurately known as the world game.
I did not come to the game until my mid-twenties, and accordingly I was, if I am being kind, completely rubbish as a player. I also did not really understand the things I kept being penalised for and that frustration, combined with a lack of match time from the coach due to my rubbish-ness meant that it was not really serving its purpose for me, which was to help me lose some weight. So I attended a local referee course and became a referee.
I love it. I have the best position to watch football. It is great fitness (I average around ten kilometres a match as a referee and around seven kilometres as an assistant referee in each match, depending on the level of football), it is outdoors amidst the fresh air and the sun and has provided me with some incredible experiences and many new friends. Recently I attended a Level One Theory course run by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) designed to give me the skills to be appointed to referee the second tier of football in Australia, the Sony PS4 National Premier League and in theory, would mean I am eligible to officiate on the Hyundai A-League, the top tier of football in Australia should I pass my practical assessment matches. If you are interested in reading about the referee development pathway, you can find the Australian Officiating Development Schedule (AODS) here.
Part of the course touched on a number of elements that many educators would be familiar with, particularly around psychology and goal setting. We are required, as part of the program to develop and track a series of goals at the short, medium and long term, and were told we needed to use SMART Goals. The instructor for our course is a Secondary English teacher and he really pushed us to develop SMART goals that would be useful, as they formed part of the program assessment; the making, tracking and if need be, modification of them.
It occurred to me during my drive home that the goals I had set as part of the course were genuine SMART goals and did meet each of the criteria. My regular readers will be aware that I set some goals for this year. Reflecting further, I realised that those goals, my professional goals, were not all particularly SMART goals and were in fact rather vague in some instances. They are all things that I want to achieve, but they were not necessarily specific or measurable and I need to review them and change them if need be. I also realised that for some reason I was more comfortable codifying my goals for my referee development than I am for my professional development.
I am not entirely sure why, though I feel like it may be because I am aware there is so much development in so many areas needed that it feels rather paralysing and constricting to pin down only three of four goals as is required for my mandatory Professional Development Plan.
How do you determine, whether now or in the past, which of the numerous potential areas for development to concentrate on? I feel, as an early career teacher, that there are so many areas I still need to focus on that I am paralysed for choice. I would appreciate hearing anyone's process for selecting development areas.