Happy New Year! This is our second day of school in 2013 and my students are refreshed, ready to work, and have new goals for the year (at least I hope)! My students are making resolutions for 2013, so that had me thinking about 12 resolutions teachers should make (and keep!) for 2013! Of course, these are only my suggestions, so feel free to add in your suggestions in the comments section!
1. I will get out of my comfort zone and try something new!
It’s very easy to use the same activities, lessons, and units from year to year if you’re teaching the same grades. I guess a lot of things in life are like that—we feel comfortable with things that are familiar to us. But I am going to challenge myself—and you too!—to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. Do you normally run the art club? Why don’t you try coaching a sport? Have you tried to incorporate new concepts in your teaching? I’ve challenged myself to leap into 21st century learning this year…there’s so much to learn, but I will try a little bit more each day.
Teaching is a 24 hour job. Even if teachers work 24 hours a day, there still is not enough time to get everything that we want accomplished. With teaching, marking, planning, decorating classrooms, extracurriculars, professional development, and preparing for daily lessons and activities, it seems like my “to do” list gets longer and longer. I am going to focus on what is important and prioritize my tasks! Not everything is mission critical!
3. Take time for yourself!
A refreshed, relaxed, and energized teacher is an effective teacher! Take care of yourself, eat nutritious meals and snacks, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, spend time with family and friends, and, most importantly, have fun!
4. Don’t let things pile up!
At the end of the day, it’s so easy to look at that small pile of assignments on your desk and convince yourself to let them go just one day…but then that pile starts to grow out of control! Little things can quickly turn into big problems if you aren’t careful! I’m going to be on task this year! No more slacking
5. 21st century learning!
As I mentioned in my first resolution, I really want to try new things. 21st century learning seems like such a phenomenal and revolutionary change to teaching and learning! It seems a bit overwhelming and scary, but it is also motivating and exhilarating! This year, I’ve began to use Edmodo and Engrade in my classroom. I want to incorporate technology, digital resources, and educational apps into my daily teaching more and more.
6. Make a 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year plan!
Did you reach all your goals in 2012? Did you even set any goals for yourself in 2012? Are you where you expected to be in 2013? Did you even imagine where you would be in 2013?
It’s very easy to just live in the moment, but it is essential to plan ahead and set goals for yourself. I plan to make 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year goals for myself to keep me focused and on track!
7. Ask for student input!
I really want my students to be more actively engaged and involved in their learning…not just in lessons and activities, but I want their input in the types of concepts we cover, how we cover them, and how they’d like to learn. Of course, we need to cover curriculum expectations, but there are so many ways for students to learn the curriculum, explore their learning needs, and become active contributors in your classroom learning community.
Sometimes I get a little too wrapped up in the little things when I should be focusing on the big picture. Here’s an easy way to simplify your life a bit: get rid of your mark books and use an electronic mark book! There are many free, online mark books or you can simply use an Excel spreadsheet…there is no excuse for wasting time calculating and tabulating final grades. I use engrade.ca and I think it is phenomenal! Scared you’ll lose your work? I simply export or print my marks on a weekly basis and I’m worry free!
9. Form a professional learning community!
Do you meet with colleagues simply to plan lessons? Or do you use this as an opportunity to learn from another and grow as a teacher? If you don’t have a formal professional learning community, then make one yourself! Look to teacher blogs, teacher forums, Twitter, or Facebook to discuss education, teaching strategies, lesson plans, and student learning with teachers all over the world! How’s that for a global learning community!
10. Connect with every student!
Build a relationship with every single student in your class. This may be difficult but it is so important! There are some kids that are shy, quiet, do their work, and don’t really stand out…it is easy for them to get lost in the crowd. Don’t let this happen! Help students join the classroom community and grow as individuals.
11. It’s okay to veer off your lesson plans!
I’ve said this before and I will say it again—it is okay to veer off your lesson plans! They are not written in stone! Some of the best class discussions I’ve had in my class occurred when we were off on some tangent. It’s okay and there is time to go back and catch up. True learning is spontaneous and cannot be scheduled into a thirty minute pre-determine block of time. Be flexible!
12. Don’t forget that learning should be fun!
Learning should be fun…both for you and your students! Try to use different tactics and tools to engage the students in your class. If you are having a fun time, then your love of learning will be infectious and your students will be motivated and inspired to learn!
Good luck with your resolutions! I’ll report back on how I’m doing! If you have any suggestions or additions, please add them in to the comments. See you next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12!