As a professional educator, I have developed several goals in both the short and long term in order to facilitate my continued development as a musician, teacher, and learner. These goals fall into several categories, but they all reflect my desire for continued growth in my professional capacities. Each of these goals is closely related to, and reflective of, one or more of the core propositions of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
The first category of goals is related to my academic development as a professional educator. In the short term, my goal is to complete the Master of Arts in Teacher and Learning program through Nova Southeastern University and earn my Masterís degree. This goal will be accomplished within six months and will mark a significant accomplishment in my academic development. In the long term, my academic goals include further training in choral conducting and literature within the next ten years. These academic goals reflect my personal desire to increase my knowledge about choral music and the best ways to teach it to my students by incorporating the things I have learned into my daily practices as an educator.
Closely related to my academic goals are my goals related to research. Within six months, I will complete my action research project as part of the degree program mentioned above. This short-term goal will allow me to develop better methods of teaching sight reading within my choral classroom. After this project is finished, I will continue the cycle of action research by evaluating the results and seeking further areas for improvement. Within the next five years, I will complete further action research within the domain of choral music, focusing on teaching vocal students with changing voices. Like my academic goals, these research goals will help me increase knowledge about my subject and how to teach it effectively. More importantly, they have a direct impact on the students in my classroom. I have chosen to continue with the action research format for two reasons: First, the search for effective solutions to problems in my classroom is evidence of my commitment to my students and their learning. Second, the practical nature of action research allows me to develop the most effective methods for managing and monitoring my studentís learning and musical progress.
My third category of professional development goals involves long-term goals for publication, both of a choral arrangement and of an article within the next five years. Through my teaching experience over several years, I have learned that, while there is a dearth of new choral arrangements every year, only a very few are quality arrangements for young and developing choirs. I have also learned that, generally speaking, good choral arrangements have several common characteristics. I would like to apply this experience in two forms, by publishing an article on the subject and creating one or more new arrangements that meet the quality standards I have developed. Achieving these goals will also provide evidence of my knowledge of the field of choral music education, and of the best materials and methods for teaching in this field.
The final category of my professional development goals is related to my continued involvement in learning communities both within and without the school district. I have two goals for the short term at the local level: First, I will develop a quarterly music department newsletter highlighting the development of each group within the district and informing the community about upcoming musical events. This will be a collaborative project next year between myself and the other two music teachers in the district. The newsletter will help us develop the lines of communication between students, parents, administrators, teachers, community members, and all other stakeholders in the musical education of the students. My second local and short-term goal is to help develop a mentoring program for new teachers in the district and to become one of the first mentors in the program. This mentoring program will help bring the members of the faculty together as a collaborative learning community. Both of these local goals will be completed within the next year. In the long term, my goals involve developing a presentation about distance learning opportunities and action research. This presentation will be designed and submitted for consideration for the regional and state meetings of my professional organization, the Illinois Music Educators Association, part of the Music Educators National Conference. Achieving this goal will allow me to become more involved in my professional organization as a learning community, as well as giving me an opportunity to share what I have learned through my own teaching and professional development experiences. This presentation goal will be accomplished within five years. My second long-term community goal is to establish and participate in a professional-level vocal jazz ensemble in my community. The challenges of recruiting, organizing, rehearsing, programming, and performing with a new ensemble are formidable, but not insurmountable. The rewards of performing at this level and continuing my personal musical development within a performing community will be worth the effort. This goal will be accomplished within ten years.
While this seems to be an exhaustive and exhausting list, I have high expectations for myself as a professional educator and as a student of music. These high expectations are evident to my students and help them develop a sense of pride in their musical accomplishments and the effort involved in the process. As I continue through my professional development, I will reflect on these goals and revise them as necessary. It has been a valuable experience for me to articulate these goals in writing and set the bar high for my continued professional development.
Matthew L. Reece, April 30, 2003