Being a teacher can be as stressful and time-consuming as it is rewarding.

Of course, many people go into the profession hoping to make a difference in student’s lives and help improve their education. Still, amidst the everyday workload and surprise inspections, it can be easy to lose track of what you set out to do as a teacher. Mission statements are a great way to stay focused and reinstate your goals to give your teaching purpose again.

Read on for some top tips on creating your mission statements for teaching and improving your lessons for the students and putting the joy back into teaching for you.

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What is a mission statement?

Before starting, you need to understand the fundamentals of a mission statement and why it is needed. A mission statement in education encompasses your goals for yourself and your students. It aims to pin down what you hope to accomplish and achieve with your students and how you will help them succeed. Without a mission statement, it is easy to become lost in the everyday struggle of controlling a class and pushing through everyday setbacks. However, teaching is more than just getting through a lesson. To truly inspire and improve learning for students, you need to keep track of long-term goals to help those you teach grow and improve.

How to write your mission statement

There are a few key points that you can address to help you create a useful mission statement. Try answering these pivotal questions first to get a good idea of what needs to be included:

What are your learning goals?

Establish some clear goals that you want to meet, and make sure to set an amount of time. Usually, a mission statement is best set out over a year. So, set a few targets you want to reach by the end of the year. Keep these reasonable and attainable otherwise. It can be too easy to lose motivation.

What should students be able to do?

Now focus on the students. What do you think they should be able to do by the end of the year? Again, use your knowledge of your students to create realistic goals but don’t be shy to push students to achieve their full potential. You are the one who knows their learning journey the best, so you can most effectively help them reach their goals.

How will you measure success?

Goals are no use unless you can see when they have been achieved. When it comes to the targets you are setting, make sure to establish how you will know they have been reached. Success is a great motivator; recognizing progress and improvements can consolidate learning and help students push through and achieve further goals.

What skills and habits should your students develop?

Think about where you want your students to be when they leave your class at the end of the year. What habits do you want them to have to help them in the future? What skills will they need to progress into further education or life? Make a note of these ideal outcomes.

Once you have answered these, you should try to craft them into a short mission statement of around 2 to 4 lines. Be aware of who the mission statement is for. If it is a personal statement, write it in the first person. If it is for a group or the whole classroom, make sure to write it from the perspective of the collective, referring to the group as ‘we’.

How to perfect your mission statement

Once you have a general outline of what you expect and hope for your students over the year, you can pay closer attention to the wording you have used. Make sure to reread your statement and be critical, especially of verbs. It can be helpful to define what you mean by each one to create a clear mission statement. For example, what exactly do you mean by ‘recognize’ or ‘learn’, which are often used lightly but should be thought about more deeply when such heavy importance is placed on them?

What to avoid

The last thing you want is to list a syllabus. There is more to the year than just for students to cover the set content. They should also be able to apply what they learn to the modern world and real-life situations. Understanding why they need to learn what they are is just as important as taking on the information.

Another thing to avoid when setting goals is to demand blanket improvements such as better test scores. Instead of listing generic changes, try to look deeper into what will help the students to reach these goals. For example, do you want them to improve critical thinking or deductive reasoning?

Think carefully about each phrase, and once you are happy, you have crafted your mission statement. Now you need to put it into practice.