New (School) Year Resolutions

Christine Mosso

Teachers live in two time zones. We get the opportunity to start a new year twice: once in January with everyone else and again when the school year begins in August or September. Perhaps you are like many people and January 1 marks the beginning of a new you, with well-intentioned resolutions to improve different aspects in your life. This is the year you finally lose those pesky 25 pounds that keep hanging around, you will learn a new language, cuisine, or musical instrument. You will read all those books you’ve been meaning to read. You will take time to exercise daily…whatever it is. And perhaps like many of us, you start out wholeheartedly trying to fulfill those resolutions—and then it’s February or March. You’ve fallen off the wagon so long ago that the wagon is nowhere in sight, it’s probably on the opposite end of the planet by now, right? Well teachers, we have another shot at resolutions for the new SCHOOL year! Let’s be smart about these resolutions so that it will be very likely to fulfill them—and then we can work on those 25 pounds!

So what kind of resolutions should we set? Here are a few ideas:

  • For those of us who have been in the trenches for a few years, we may have to look at some of the activities we use. Tried and true as they are, there may be something fresh we can do to teach the same thing. Think about how that activity may be tweaked to make it seem new.
  • Maybe it’s time to incorporate technology in new ways. While that might seem intimidating or even unnecessary, it could be a pleasant surprise for both you and your students. Face those tech phobias and see what new tools you can add to your tool box.
  • You might decide to do some more outreach to parents. One thing I did that really took little time and built strong relationships was to send “Good News” cards to parents. This was my way of telling them what their kids were doing in class. Sometimes the good news was about academics, but more often than not it was to let parents know that their child did something good, nice, or helpful.
  •  Have a good think, as Winnie the Pooh likes to say, and pinpoint an area where you can do something different. There is where you can develop your resolution.

It’s important to approach these resolutions in the same way we ask our students to set goals, or how we set goals with them. We should not treat ourselves any differently than our students. This means that these goals or resolutions should be:

  1. Achievable
  2. Measurable 
  3. Meaningful 

They can also be expanded when we meet these goals. Start small, have “mile-markers” that are both short-distance and long-distance. Teachers know, probably better than most other professionals, that when a big goal is broken into smaller goals, the big goal is more likely to be met. We probably do this for our students, so shouldn’t we do this for ourselves? As you work through the year toward that goal, don’t forget to stop and assess your progress and the nature of the goal. Don’t be hard on yourself if you have to readjust. Just keep at it!

So fellow-teachers, it’s almost New Year’s Eve! What are you going to do differently this year? How are you going to be a better teacher? How are you going to have a better balance between your professional and personal life? How is this year going to be better than last year? Let us know what your New School Year Resolution is and how you plan to fulfill it. In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful school year! Go get ‘em!!!!!

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