PRACTICE: How to Start Personalized Learning Plans With Your Staff (Time for Teachership Podcast)

Lindsay LyonsTime for Teachership Podcast, timeforteachership

What’s really essential is that you have an aligned goal for the teacher. By aligned, I mean it’s aligned to your school or community’s focus area and to the rubric that you’re using to assess quality teaching. Click To Tweet


We know how important personalized learning is for students, and many of us are working to implement it in the classroom. 

But it’s important for educators, too. 

Each educator is a unique individual with a different learning style. If we want to see educators step up into their best, most engaged and effective self in the classroom, personalized learning plans are a must. 

On episode 96 of the Time for Teachership podcast, I dove into how you can start personalized learning plans with your staff. Check out the full episode or read on here for the key takeaways.

Why is Personalized Learning for Staff Important? 

I always want to start with the “why.” Why is personalized learning for staff so important? There are a few key reasons: 

  • Co-creating learning plans increases engagement, investment, and commitment to a shared goal. 
  • Allowing educators to explore personal areas of interest in their unique learning style leads to increased joy, excitement, and self-efficacy. 
  • Investing in educators through personalized learning and professional development makes them more effective in the classroom, with tangible positive impacts on student learning. 

Quite simply, personalized learning makes for happier and more impactful educators! 

How to Create Personalized Learning Plans for Educators

As a pre-cursor to creating personalized learning plans for educators, your school or district needs to identify 1-2 focus areas for the year and be clear on them. When your team is familiar with those big 1-2 focus areas, you can start creating personalized learning plans. 

Here are 6 steps to follow: 

  1. Communicate the importance: Start by naming the fact that you recognize how important autonomy and personalized learning is.
  2. Create 1-2 goals: Invite educators to identify 1-2 goals that align with the school or district-wide goals mentioned before. These should also be aligned with the rubric or evaluation criteria that teachers are expected to meet.
  3. Document the goals: Write. Them. Down. And, link the goals to a corresponding evaluation component (check out this personalized learning rubric). When teachers write down their goals, it’s easier to stay aligned and on-track through the year.
  4. Define success criteria: Ask, “What will it look, sound, and/or feel like in your classroom when you’ve hit this goal?” Focus on student behaviors and what they’re talking about. Visualize what it will be like to walk into a classroom where the goal is being met and be clear on that criterion. Then, determine some portfolio pieces that will celebrate the accomplishment of that goal—something to positively affirm that teachers met their goals.
  5. Determine action steps: Don’t skip to this step! The other four lay the groundwork here, and once you do that you can identify what action steps are needed to reach your goal. This is all about professional development that will help you get there. Think beyond all-staff meetings and towards alternative methods of PD like peer visitations, self-paced, courses, PLCs, and deep dives into blogs, podcasts, and other resources.
  6. Follow-up: Once educators have created this plan, follow-up on them over the year. Make sure that you, as a leader, are using these plans for mentorship and coaching throughout the year. You can also be intentional about providing the PD methods that best help them reach their goals. 

Developing personalized learning plans can vary between more rigid to more of a free-form exercise. The biggest thing is that there’s alignment between overall focus area and evaluation rubrics as well as some meaningful action steps. 

Listen to episode 96 of the Time for Teachership podcast to hear more about this topic. And, make sure you check out Dallas ISD’s Coaching and Development Rubric. It’s an awesome resource to help you on this personalized learning journey! 



  • 8:30 “What will it look, sound, and/or feel like in your classroom or environment … when you have met this goal? … Think about what it would actually look like to walk into a classroom where this goal was met. What would it sound like? What are the things that I’m hearing students say? Because we want to focus heavily on students and the way students are acting, experiencing, talking about things.”
  • 13:47 “There’s so many areas of PD beyond the traditional ‘everyone sits in a room or virtual Zoom room,’ experiencing the same PD. Especially when you have a large staff … that’s probably not going to meet the needs of every staff member.”
  • 17:18 “What’s really essential is that you have an aligned goal for the teacher. By aligned, I mean it’s aligned to your school or community’s focus area and to the rubric that you’re using to assess quality teaching.”


Load More