Every year I make a list of resolutions for myself. These are centered on my physical health, mental health, finances, and travel. At the end of the previous year/beginning of the New Year, my friend Mary and I share our personal resolutions as a way to encourage one another and to hold one another accountable. This tradition is something I so look forward to each year. While some people think that waiting for the New Year to set intentions or begin a habit is a bad idea, I am an individual who needs a reset every once in a while. The end of 2016 put a lot of things in perspective for me personally and professionally. Because of this, I have extended my resolutions into my teaching career, and I want to share them with you in the spirit of encouragement and accountability! Here is what I’m striving for as a teacher in 2017:
- Be Patient—This has been my biggest struggle this school year. If you read my last post, you know that I have been really sick for the past few months. As my illness dragged on and no one could tell me what was wrong with me, I became more and more frustrated, and thus, it became more and more difficult to be patient with my students. I just wanted them to get it, to follow my instructions, and to be quiet robots that didn’t push back. If you are a teacher, you are laughing out loud at my wishes—knowing this would never happen. And it didn’t. And when it didn’t, I was short with my students. I became the teacher I never wanted to be. So, for 2017, I want to get back to being patient with my students. I want to be the kind, caring, and responsive educator that I know I capable of being.
- Do not work at home during the week—Some of you might be thinking, “That’s impossible.” While it might be difficult, I really think that it is possible. And to be honest, in order to make this career sustainable for me, I have to make it possible. If I add up the amount of time that I have with my students during the day, it totals around 5 hours. However, I am usually in the school building for around 9.5 hours. That means, I have 4.5 extra hours in the day to plan, grade, and reflect on teaching. While some days at work will be harder than others, I know that the days that never end just won’t cut it any longer. Working constantly is not sustainable, and so I am committing to not bringing work home with me during the week. Later this month, I plan on sharing my schedule to let you know how I use time blocking to plan my day and get things done!
- Plan more of a variety of activities-I am a creature of habit, and sometimes, I feel like my lessons and my units follow a lot of similar structures. I have my go to activities that I love to do with students, and while this is easy for me in terms of planning and assessing, I know this is not what is always best for me or for my students. In the New Year, I want to push myself outside of my comfort zone to try new activities that make class fun for my students and for myself! If you have any suggestions of favorite types of lessons and/or activities please share them in the comment section!
- Be present in every moment—As teachers, we know that our to do lists will never end. When we are with out students, sometimes it can be easy to let our brains wander else where—to the pile of papers we need to grade, the lesson plans that are due soon, the meeting we have after school, or to things we need to do at home. In my personal life, I have been working on being present with my family and friends (someone please take my iPhone from me!), so it only feels right to extend this to my time with my students. I take the responsibility of teaching very seriously, and I want to strive to better at it not just in terms of lesson structure, but also in my persona as an educator.
I am hoping that this set of intentions helps me stay focused and have a more balanced work life than I did in 2016. Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions for your classroom or professional life? Please comment and share below!