It’s almost the end of January, that time when New Year’s resolutions tend to fall by the wayside. Instead of giving up on them altogether, why not reboot them into a goal that will apply to your teaching life and improve your workplace mentality? Take the typical resolutions, and turn them on their heads!
Don’t lose weight, take weight off your shoulders
I’ll bet close to 90% off people have a resolution that involves losing weight in some way. But how often do they actually stick with it and accomplish that goal? Not very often I suspect. I know I sure as heck never did! So instead of using that tired resolution to direct you, why not try to take some weight off your shoulders? Remember that you can’t do everything. Even though you want to. Even though everyone else thinks you should. Learn to say no. Don’t try to do everything because then you become a jack of all trade and master of none. If you’re like me, Type A to the nth degree, you won’t do something unless it’s done right. If you take on too much, then your focus is split and your work suffers.
Make a list of non-negotiable, “this must get done” tasks and direct your energy toward those. Then leave some time for yourself!
Eat healthy? How about eating regularly?
Eating a healthy diet goes hand in hand with the weight loss resolution, but even people who don’t want to lose weight often pledge to eat a more healthy diet. For some teachers I know, it would be a victory if they actually ate lunch! They get so involved in what they are doing at school, they forget to nourish themselves. This has never happened to me, so it’s hard for me to believe when other people do it, but I know it’s a bad habit some teachers get into. I, myself, have never skipped a meal, so I’ll just encourage from the sidelines on this one. 🙂
Stay in touch- positive contacts for the win!
Another relatively common resolution is to stay in better touch with family and friends. As a teacher, you should also set goals for staying in touch with parents- specifically in a positive way. I buy postcards from Vistaprint every year, and they are for sending home to parents to report good things about their students. I started this a couple of years ago, and it has made so much difference when it comes time to contact parents about something not so great. If you’ve already made a positive contact, they’re less likely to be on the defensive.
Instead of saving money, find some!
Many people set a savings goal at the beginning of a new year. As a teacher, you probably use a lot of your own money to fund projects, decorations, or materials for your classroom. Instead of saving money and spending on your room, why not seek out opportunities for people to give you some! Donors Choose, grants, donations…all these can be used to make significant improvements or upgrades to your classroom environment. When I started implementing flexible seating, I let our parents know about it, and I actually got donations from a few. didn’t take money, but they donated pieces of furniture to the cause and it set me on the road to what my classroom looks like today.
Get out of the classroom!
Traveling more is a goal I’ve heard several times in the past couple of weeks. I would love to travel more, but it’s usually not in the financial cards. Something I am taking advantage of is professional development opportunities that my district is willing to pay for. I know it sucks to plan for a sub, but having notice usually makes it easier. Go find out about a new piece of technology or just see what’s new in the world of your content. Spend the day with like-minded adults. It’s a great way to beat the doldrums and get you fired up with new ideas.
Don’t just spend time, build relationships
Many times in the past, I neglected building relationships with kids because I thought our curriculum demands didn’t leave us time for touchie-feelie stuff like that. Boy, was I wrong! I realized that, if I took the time for those relationships to build, then they were more willing to focus on my content. Without relationships, they just don’t learn from you as well, so carve out some time to make that happen. Socratic seminars are a great way to spend some time talking with your students. Some of them may surprise you!
Screen time isn’t always a bad thing
With all the technology at our disposal, making a resolution about lowering the amount of time you spend on a computer or device seems like a good idea. However, if you spend it differently, you could benefit greatly. I have found a couple of groups on Facebook and a community on Instagram that act as virtual PD for me. I have gotten so many lesson ideas, words of support and encouragement, and ways to freshen up my curriculum from spending time on these sites instead of playing games or mindlessly scrolling through social media. Instead of just trying to cut screen time out of your schedule, spend some of that time searching for a virtual community that you can benefit from.
I hope your resolutions, if you made any, are going well. With all the pressure teachers are under, the best thing we can all do is take care of ourselves! One of mine was to take back the space in my classroom. You can read about it in my Clean Classroom Challenge post.