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SMART Goals for Teachers: Examples & Free Goal Template

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Setting goals is a powerful way to advance through a career in education. After all, the modern foundation of education is to guide students through a goal-based curriculum.

But for many educators, goal-setting can be difficult because:

  • You don't have time to set them
  • Your goals don't motivate or challenge you
  • Your goals don't get you where you want to be
  • You don't know if you can realistically achieve them
  • You can't clearly tell when you've reached your goal

If you feel you're in this situation, don't worry. The SMART goal setting rubric can help. This research-backed approach takes general, broad aspirations and turns them into specific goals that you know you contribute to your long-term plans.

Let's dive into how it works and the many teacher-made examples of SMART goals you can use for inspiration. Plus, we've even got a free SMART goal planning template for you too!

What are SMART goals for teachers?

An image explaining what SMART goals are, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

They’re not just goals that sound, look or feel smart. SMART goals refer to a goal-setting system that increases your ability to accomplish goals.

SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific — Does your goal target a specific area for improvement?
  • Measurable — Can you accurately measure your goal?
  • Achievable — Is your goal realistic?
  • Relevant — Is the goal relevant to your profession?
  • Time-bound — Does your goal have a specific timeline?

Scroll down for more detail on each part of a SMART goal (and examples from teachers)!


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The clearer the better! Leadership guru Robin Sharma believes “clarity breeds mastery. The goals you set drive the actions you’ll take.” And there’s a reason for that…What sounds SMARTer?

  • I will lose weight.
  • I will lose 10 pounds by December 1, 2023 by cutting out dessert during the week and going on brisk walks for one hour every day.

The latter, right? In order to create specific teacher goals that will target and trigger real change, ask yourself the 5W’s:

  1. Who is involved?
  2. Where is it located?
  3. Why is it important?
  4. What do I want to accomplish?
  5. Which limitations or resources are involved?

While most SMART goals are focused on the short term, you may also want to make your long-term goals specific too. That way, you'll know how you're progressing.

Check out the bolded parts of the example SMART goal below to see how it satisfies each section:

Example: By May 2024, my 5th grade students will improve their language conventions writing score by 7 percentage points, from 63% to 70% proficient.


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Make your teacher goals measurable so you can keep track of progress.

How many? How much? What number do I need to hit to accomplish this goal?

These are all questions that will help you create more measurable goals.

Plus, updating your progress week to week or month to month will fill you with motivation to keep working toward your teacher SMART goals!

Example: By May 2024, my 5th grade students will improve their language conventions writing score by 7 percentage points, from 63% to 70% proficient.


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How can you accomplish your teacher goals? Are there any constraints that may keep you from accomplishing your goals? Answering these questions will help determine how achievable your teacher goals are.

Just like you do for your students, make sure the goals keep you within a zone of proximal development. Teacher SMART goals should be achievable, not unattainable.

Example: By May 2020, my 5th grade students will improve their language conventions writing score by 7 percentage points, from 63% to 70% proficient.


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Part of having SMART teacher goals is keeping those goals relevant. Does your goal matter to you? Will it matter to your students? Will it matter to your school?

For example, if your school has an overarching goal to increase math scores, at least one of your teacher SMART goals should align with that.

Not sure if your teacher goals are relevant? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it the right time?
  • Is this goal worthwhile?
  • Does it align with current efforts or needs?

Example: By May 2024, my 5th grade students will improve their language conventions writing score by 7 percentage points, from 63% to 70% proficient.


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Without an end date, goals turn into tasks that are easy to put off — day after day, week after week, month after month. When you make teacher SMART goals, make sure they’re set to a timeframe.

Ask yourself when you’d like to accomplish your goal. Let’s say you want to achieve it by the end of the term. Once you establish a target date, consider what you can do today, four weeks from now and two months from now that will allow you to cross that goal off your list.

Making time-bound goals can help you feel accountable for short-term goals, reduce procrastination and feel motivated.

Example: By May 2024, my 5th grade students will improve their language conventions writing score by 7 percentage points, from 63% to 70% proficient.

How to create professional goals for teachers (that are SMART)

Teacher SMART goals are easier to create than you’d think. We’ll summarize how to think about each part of a SMART goal, but make sure you download the free teacher goals template below!

Not sure if your goal is SMART? Ask yourself these questions:

Strategic — What goal are you trying to accomplish? Why?

Measurable — What’s your intended outcome? How will you know you’ve achieved your goal?

Achievable — Is your goal realistic? What actions will you put in place to ensure you achieve it?

Relevant — How does your goal align with your role as an educator?

Time-bound — What’s the timeline? When would you like to achieve your goal by?

Download your free template: How to Create Teacher SMART Goals Without Fear of Failure (in 5 Simple Steps)

40 Examples of SMART goals for teachers

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Here are 40 examples of SMART goals for teachers, grouped by areas of professional growth.

Student achievement and student learning

  1. By the end of the semester, 80% of my students will demonstrate an improvement of at least one grade level in their mathematics skills, as measured by standard assessment tests.
  2. Improve average student performance on standardized English language tests by 15% by the end of the academic year.
  3. Increase the proportion of students achieving grade-level reading proficiency by 20% by the end of the academic year, as measured by district assessments.
  4. Ensure that 90% of students pass the end-of-course exams in science by May next year.
  5. Achieve a 10% improvement in the class's average score on history projects by the end of the second semester.

Classroom management

  1. Implement a new system of classroom rules and behavioral expectations by the end of the first month of the semester, with 90% of students demonstrating understanding and compliance.
  2. Decrease classroom disruptions by 30% by the end of the second quarter, as documented in daily logs.
  3. Ensure that all students are actively participating in classroom discussions at least once per week by the end of the first semester.
  4. Implement a new strategy for time management in the classroom, reducing off-task time by 20% by the end of this academic year.
  5. Improve classroom tidiness and organization, with no more than one incident of lost materials per week by the end of the second semester.

Teacher professional development

  1. Complete a professional development course on instructional strategies for special education by the end of this school year.
  2. Attend at least one conference on digital game-based learning in the classroom environment within the next six months.
  3. Read and implement at least one new teaching strategy from a professional teaching journal each month.
  4. Achieve a score of proficient or better in all areas on the next performance evaluation.
  5. Co-author and publish a research paper on innovative teaching methods by the end of the next academic year.

Parent-teacher relationships

  1. Implement a system of regular communication with parents, providing bi-weekly updates by email or phone call throughout the school year.
  2. Increase parent participation in parent-teacher meetings by 25% by the end of the school year.
  3. Develop and distribute a monthly class newsletter to keep parents informed about classroom activities, starting from next month.
  4. Organize at least two class events per semester where parents are invited to participate.
  5. Achieve a 90% satisfaction rate in parent feedback surveys regarding communication and involvement by the end of this school year.

Use of technology

  1. Incorporate Prodigy Math in at least one math lesson per week to enhance student engagement, starting from the second month of the semester.
  2. Implement a new learning management system for the class with 100% of students using it proficiently by the end of the school year.
  3. Develop a set of five interactive online quizzes or activities for each major unit in the curriculum by the end of the year.
  4. Increase the use of educational apps in the my students learning environment by 50% by the end of this academic year.
  5. Complete an online course on digital literacy or instructional technology within the next six months.

Lesson planning

  1. Develop a bank of 50 creative, standards-aligned lesson plans for my ELA lessons, with at least 10 incorporating multimedia, by the end of this academic year.
  2. Design and implement at least one differentiated lesson per unit to accommodate learners at different levels, with a goal of reaching all students effectively by the end of the first semester.
  3. Use student feedback to refine and improve at least one lesson plan per month, aiming for a 10% increase in student satisfaction with lesson quality by the end of this academic year.
  4. Collaborate with at least two different subject teachers to create and implement five interdisciplinary lessons that foster connections between different academic subjects by the end of the school year.
  5. Design lessons with embedded formative assessments in every unit of study, increasing the frequency of student progress monitoring by 20% by the end of the second semester.

Teaching social emotional learning (SEL)

  1. Implement a dedicated 15-minute SEL activity or lesson at least three times per week, aiming for a 25% improvement in students' self-reported mood and behavior by the end of this school year.
  2. Develop and implement a classroom behavior management system based on SEL principles, aiming to decrease disruptive behaviors by 30% as recorded in classroom behavior logs by the end of the second semester.
  3. Improve students' conflict resolution skills by incorporating role-playing scenarios into lessons at least twice a month, with the goal of reducing peer conflicts by 20% by the end of the school year.
  4. Use an SEL assessment tool like the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) to measure students' social and emotional competencies three times throughout the school year (beginning, middle, end), aiming to see a 15% overall growth in scores.
  5. Complete a professional development course or workshop focused on SEL teaching strategies by the end of the academic year, with the goal of implementing at least three new SEL strategies in the classroom.

Bonus: 10 SMART Goals made by teachers

We also asked Prodigy’s teacher users to share some of their teaching goals for personal and professional development. We got over 100 responses, so here’s a shortlist of some of our favorites!

  • Planning twice weekly to improve math scores on word problems by April 30. — Jennifer Freel
  • At least 70% of my students will achieve mastery of the power standards identified for each math unit as measured by the unit tests. — Heather Freeman
  • I will give students at least 10 minutes of Prodigy time at least three times a week until April. — Leanne Brown
  • To complete the report due for my National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership course by one week prior to the final deadline. — Christina Wright
  • My professional goal is to keep a journal and record my thoughts on lessons two or three times a week. My journal will be evidence of this. — Rebecca Kilver
  • To have 50% of parents connected to their child’s Prodigy account and be assigning goals by June. — Kristina Vantassel
  • Find a job-share classroom for next school year by the district deadline and organize 90% of my desk (at home) by January 13th. — Mrs. Cho
  • My professional goal is to complete my Master’s in counseling by Spring. — Jennifer Thompson
  • My personal goal is to leave work before 3:30 to spend more time with my family on four out of five workdays. — Michelle Tysinger
  • Implement more STEAM activities and organize the school library by the end of May. — Monica Loas

As you can tell, it doesn't necessarily matter how you word your achievable goal. Some teachers prefer to make it more casual and easier to follow, while others prefer a professional approach to their goal-setting methods. What matters most is making sure your goal is time-bound, attainable and measurable.

How Prodigy can help you set (and stick to) your teacher goals

There are lots of online resources that you can access to make sure your professional goals are a success — including Prodigy!

Prodigy Math is a game-based, adaptive math platform for students in 1st to 8th grade. While students set out exploring an exciting fantasy world and answering math questions, you can use your free teacher tools to:

  • Send assessments — Whether you're prepping for a standardized test, sending homework or looking at student skills, Prodigy's assessments features offer ways to customize the content students see as they play and the insights you get.
  • Motivate students — Classroom challenges are a great way to encourage students to answer more questions and reward their hard work! Set a challenge in your teacher dashboard and check back in to see the top three students with the most correct answers.
  • Collect insights — As students play, Prodigy automatically collects information on their strengths and weaknesses. Instead of hours spent grading, you'll have more information to support your lesson planning and more time to spend on what really matters: teaching.

So if your goals are to help students have a fun math experience, or deliver three formative assessments before the end of your unit, Prodigy can help you do that in a touch of a button!

And the best bit? Educators get full access for free!

See how it works below:


Ready to set your SMART goals?

This SMART roadmap will place you leaps and bounds ahead of the curve.

Now you can set own goals with more confidence and clarity, in a way that will have a real impact on your calling as an educator.

So here's your challenge: Download your free SMART goals template and craft one strategic, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound SMART goal that you will commit to for the next three months. Good luck — you can do this!

Sign up for your free Prodigy teacher account today to access tools for differentiation, get student insights and help your class love learning math. Created for students in 1st to 8th grade, Prodigy Math is aligned to curricula in the United States and around the world.

What are you waiting for? Join today!

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