Professional Work Goals For 2021
Now that we are a week into 2021, many of us have been working away on our New Year’s goals/resolutions. Last week’s blog challenged you to take a 30- day challenge to be happier. This week we’ll be discussing professional goals.
Perhaps you were tasked with creating professional goals during last year’s annual review. Now is the time to pick up that list and determine where you are achieving those 2020 goals.
There will be some people who did not get the opportunity to create goals due to COVID or because that is not the evaluation model your organization uses.
Here are some goals for professional development that you might like to consider. Pick one or two goals and commit to completing them. In December, you’ll be able to proudly look back and see how your choices positively impacted the children and families in your care.
1. Take a workshop or course to improve your skills
What is the one job you avoid doing because you believe you aren’t strong in? Some professionals feel disempowered when it comes to challenging behaviour. A class in brain development might shed light on why your children behave the way they do. You might feel weak in delivering math or science activities to your group. There are workshops specifically for ECE’s to build their skills and learn new and exciting ways of incorporating those concepts into your room.
Choose a topic you consciously avoid and commit to nurturing your skillset around it! This goal can have a massive impact on your work when you do the learning and immediately begin practicing your new skills.
2. Teach what you know
One of the best ways to learn something new is to learn it with the idea that you will teach it. So you chose to build your skills by taking a workshop or course; ask if you can present a summary of your learning at the next staff meeting!
If you are shy are afraid to speak to your team, this is a great goal that can positively impact your career. You won’t be perfect the first time, but that’s alright! You are sharing a gift of knowledge with people who support you. A professional team will cheer you on and want you to succeed.
3. Research different age groups or positions within your organization
If you have been working with one age group for years, it might be time to think about changing things up.
If you’ve never worked with infants or school-age children, take some time to research the facts around their development, challenges and learning. You may be inspired to ask for a change. When we are immersed in a new area, all of our senses are heightened. We don’t know everything and are challenged to meet a new learning curve. Perhaps it’s time to break out of your rut.
4. Improve your team collaboration and communication
Do you work in the same room as others, but you don’t work together? Sometimes it takes only one person to initiate a conversation around collaboration.
You may have team members who don’t get the opportunity to do jobs they love because they assume that if they ask to change things up, it will “rock the boat.”
When was the last time your room partners had an honest talk about how things are going in the class? Do you rotate specific responsibilities? Would one of you like to change the schedule up a bit?
Working with a team that communicates well, respects each other and is eager to collaborate makes your workday so much easier. You can begin by asking your colleagues respectful questions and then take the time to reach out and support them when possible. Communication and collaboration can be achieved when someone starts to role model behaviours that support those goals.
Networking might sound like something that executives do, but that is not true. Amazing things happen when you can network with people who do similar work to yours. Although face to face networking is currently off the table due to the pandemic, there are still social media opportunities abound!
There are many early learning Facebook groups for professionals. The participants are engaging, and the content is inspiring.
Join two or three of these groups. If one doesn’t resonate with you, simply leave the group and find another. It is surprising how quickly we can build relationships with people we have never met in person. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have global connections?
6. Find new challenges
Is it time to ask for additional responsibilities within your organization? You might choose to wait to be asked, but over time I have discovered that many people desperately want more responsibility but are afraid to ask.
You might be social media savvy, but your director is not. You can offer to take over the company’s social media page and take that job off your boss’s plate. Perhaps you have a background in an area of interest like music, physical activity, or literacy, and you want to create a resource for your program. Or maybe you’re a golden unicorn, an ECE who is a neat freak and organization guru! Believe it or not, some people LOVE to organize, declutter and purge. If that’s you, I can confidently say there are storage rooms and art closets that have your name written all over them.HR people love a professional development goal like this. If research makes your heart sing, find out what your program needs researching. This could be parent reporting software, catering, or finding out more about a learning trend and reporting back to your supervisor with the information they want.
Pick only one or two goals, and get specific about what they are.
Check-in with yourself on Canada Day (July 1, 2021) and again on New Year’s Eve ( December 31, 2021.) Write those appointments in your calendar immediately, so you don’t forget. Those appointments in the back of your mind will help you to follow through on your chosen goals.