Every year people around the world make resolutions that are not kept. With these 5 resolutions, designed specifically for teachers, you can not only keep them easily, but if you do you will be a much more effective educator. Enjoy!
Take Care of You First
Teachers live to serve students; it is our calling and our passion. Many times, especially in young teachers, the balance of life and profession tilts so far towards profession that they burn out early and often. This year, make sure to take care of yourself first. Exercise, meditate, eat healthy, and take breaks to do fun activities. Try not to take work home with you as much as possible by utilizing plan time effectively. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with work simply stop, you are in control of how quickly assignments get returned to students and if it is time for a break, well the students will just have to wait another day.
By taking care of yourself first you can show up fully energized and ready to give your students the full attention that the need and deserve. You are the major factor determining how the day will go in your classroom, if you show up tired and lethargic because you were up until 3 am planning the day’s lesson then your students will also be lethargic and the lesson will not go well. On the flip side if you come in well rested and happy to be teaching then that positivity rubs off on kiddos in the classroom and your day will go more smoothly and the lesson will probably end up being more effective.
Take Time To Read
While reading for pleasure is good, the resolution for teachers is to read professional materials that will help you grow as an educator. Find 2-3 books that you have either recommended to you by a coach or co-worker, or do a simple search online. Try to read books that will actually help you in the classroom, veteran teachers don’t need to pick up Harry Wong’s The First Days Of School, elementary school teachers don’t need to read books on teaching high school. Find you niche and roll with it. After reading take some time think and reflect on what strategies and techniques you will use and which you will throw out. Don’t just accept all strategies as being the answer or the only way to do things, there are plenty of books written that include poor techniques and strategies, in sniffing these out you can start to define your own philosophy as a teacher. Below are some books that I recommend to begin with.
Be Positive and Open to Change
In 2017 try positivity! Fake it until you make it! Do not engage in negative conversations or negative people. This includes excuse makers. They are the people who you go to with an idea and they simply make excuse after excuse as to why the idea won’t work, or why the students are not going to be able to do the task. Sometimes you just need to push ahead with a positive attitude and try something new. It may fail, but it may not!
In addition to being positive, also be open to change this next year. Understand that you do not have it all figured out, no one does, and that there are other ideas out there. Once you are open to change you can really start to transform your classroom into a place of inquiry and invention. By not boxing yourself in you open up to a whole world of possibilities and a classroom that is more responsive to the needs of students rather than the needs of the instructor.
Get to Know Something New About One Student Each Day
With class sizes growing, especially in secondary education, it can be difficult to connect with each and every student every day. I propose picking one student per class each. In doing this you lighten the load on yourself and you can still get around to doing all of the stuff that you would normally do as a teacher. Through the school year if you get to know one student each day you actually can get to know all of the kids quite well throughout the year. When students come to see that you are actually interested in them as people, not just as students, they will start seeing you as a person not just their teacher. This leads to improved class community and an overall better class experience for all involved.
Commit to Change
The hardest thing to do, for many teachers, is to change. We find a groove that we like and that has worked in previous years and we just ride in that groove. It is comfortable, it is easy, and we know that it will work. However, this year, commit to changing at least 3 things in your classroom. Even veteran teachers have elements in their classroom that they can improve on, identify these elements and make a plan to change them for the better! In continually reflecting on how to improve as a teacher and then implementing some changes based on those reflections we can continue to move forward as professionals.
Happy New Year! Enjoy the 2nd semester!
English Language Development teacher attempting to bring some truth to the table.
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