My Plan of Action on Becoming an Intentional Teacher

As stated in my long-term teaching goals, it is my intention to help my students maximize their full potentials as individuals.  I will facilitate my students along the way to achieving their full potential by setting personal goals for themselves and by being a living example of that myself.  I want to encourage my students to recognize and share their talents with the rest of the world for it is only in so doing that they will make the contribution to life that they were intended for.

In order to effectively attain these goals I must be an intentional teacher.  I must therefore have a plan of action and be willing to invest the time, energy and resources to accomplish this.  I realize that I will not be able to achieve my goals overnight - these things will begin to transpire over time. 

I will therefore:

1. Be patient, as many of my goals as a teacher will take years to realize.

2. Select an intentional teacher who would be willing and able to be a Mentor.  Robert Slavin in his book Educational Psychology, pointed out that in the art of becoming an intentional teacher we are to connect with experienced teachers who are themselves intentional. Such a relationship would help me to develop professionally and teach me to have a purpose for everything I do in my classroom and I now know how important this is.  Research has shown that mentoring received from an intentional teacher is both beneficial to new teachers and to the mentoring teacher as it helps the mentoring teacher to be reflective.  I would be able to focus on the reflections and improve my teaching strategy and lessons over time as I must constantly evaluate to make certain that my strategies are in line with my short-term and long-term teaching goals.


 3.  Slavin (2006) stated that teachers who are intentional consider their desired end result and plan their classroom activities based on those planned results.  I must aim to constantly evaluate myself by self-reflection.  An effective way of doing this is by maintaining a reflective journal. In an internet article on reflective journaling, reflective writing enables us to think in writing about what we do and the reasons. Through journaling we are able to reflect on our experiences and record them, enabling us to evaluate what we would do differently.  This too is the essence of our teaching experience as if I am going to be an effective educator I must take a reflective, documentary stance toward my teaching and development.  I can only expect to improve if I have evidence of my progress along the way.  I’ve found it comes naturally for me to look back at my lessons and reflect and it was very helpful for improvement in my teaching, but it is even more effective to document your thoughts and actions in a journal.  There are other methods that can be used for self-evaluation according to Dr. Karron G. Lewis of the University of Texas at Austin.  These include the use of audio or video tapes.  Other methods include reflective essays and narratives as well as portfolio development according to Brookfield (1995).  I believe self-reflection will be a highly effective way of being an intentional teacher.

4.  Keep myself abreast of current events by watching the news or reading a periodical at least once per day.  A teacher must also be a lifelong learner and this means keeping in touch with the world around me, so that I can show my students that I engage myself in learning.  Haselkorn and Harris (1998) reported that 90% of Americans believe that “the best way to lift student achievement is to ensure a qualified teacher in every classroom”.  The quality of teaching does make a difference in student achievement as summarized by Good et al. (1995)  It is especially important to keep up-to-date with natural events that take place in relation to subjects which lend themselves to change, such as Science, and Social Studies.  It will be crucial to show my students that I am reader and interested in growing and learning.

5.  In accordance with the findings on the high relevance of quality teaching in the classroom, King and Newman (2000) state, “Since teachers have the most direct, sustained contact with students and considerable control over what is taught and the climate for learning, improving teachers’ knowledge, skills and dispositions through professional development is a critical step in improving student achievement.” The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF, 1996) and other American groups, like the Education Trust (1998), reached similar conclusions earlier on that were based on research that followed the academic performance of individual students over long time periods, (for example, Sanders and Rivers, 1996).  These organizations have all shown that making the difference in closing the gap between students with high socio-economic status and disadvantaged students is having highly-qualified teachers and excellent teaching in the classroom.  As such I will seek out relevant training in my subject area each year and aim to invest at least 1 week in continuing professional development.  The knowledge gained in these continuing professional education sessions will be applied in my classroom where necessary.

6.  I will stay up-to-date with trends in technology and how they can be used to improve both my students’ learning experience and my own teaching experience.  According to O’Neil and Perez (2002) technology is highly relevant in today’s world.  This generation speaks in the language of technology and this is what they understand.  To hold my students’ interest I will need to use technology in my classroom to a great degree, including online resources, my own website and email communications.

7.  I will pay close attention to the affective side of teaching and show deep care and concern for my students’ individual emotions and needs.  According to Popham (2008) we must perform affective assessment and be cognizant of the effect we have on our students emotions, attitude and interest in a subject.  Popham (2008) stated that there should be monitoring of our students affective state on a regular basis and that this can help us in deciding what changes we should make in our instructional strategies.  According to Idea Paper No. 32 published by Kansas State University and written by William E. Cashin in September,1995, student ratings of teachers correlates positively with colleague ratings and teacher self-ratings.  I will gather and use information provided to me by my students to improve my teaching methods.  I will always listen to my students informal complaints and suggestions and consider them carefully.  If students found topics to be unclear during my teaching practice, I would spend more time covering those topics during the next lesson period.  I owe a great deal to my students and carry a great responsibility to educate them well.  As such I need to value their opinions and feedback as well.

8.  I will have close relationships with my colleagues and others in the teaching field that we will be able to share triumphs and disappointment.  Sharing with other like minded individuals will help me to maintain my sanity as a teacher, as we will know that there are others who share similar experiences as we do and how they have coped.  I have found meeting with my classmates for our regular class periods on Fridays for the Diploma in Education program to be invaluable in helping me through this experience.  In similar fashion, I envision sharing with my colleagues and peers in the teaching profession to be a valuable experience for all.

9. I cannot undermine the importance of fitting in some rest and leisure time and I have learned to value a free moment even more since I began this program.  It will be crucial for me to rest between high stress periods so that I do not become a victim of burnout and become an ineffective teacher because of it.


Speech on The Intentional Teacher: A Paper Prepared for EDU 520