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Teachers are lifelong learners. Part of their striving to improve comes with their willingness to reflect, make changes, and move forward with positivity and specific strategies for bettering themselves. Over the holiday break, teachers often take time to reflect upon the past semester as well, and they generally return to school in January with a whole new set of goals, techniques, and resolutions for making the next semester the best yet, both for themselves and their students. If you’re a teacher and are looking for some specific ways you can resolve to have an excellent semester starting this January, here are our top New Year’s resolutions that you can implement.
Perfect Organizational Methods
All teachers have their preferred organizational methods for their classrooms. It’s not only about how the classroom is set up physically, but it’s also about how students turn papers in, where they go when they’re done being graded, and how they’re returned to the students. It’s about how you plan your lessons, how you handle absences and missed work, and how you run the classroom as a whole. You may have tried out some new organizational methods this year that were a huge hit, and you may have utilized some that were a complete flop. Either way, the holiday break in December is a great time to tweak your current organizational methods and begin implementing some new ones to ensure you stay organized throughout the remainder of the school year. Talk to some ultra-organized colleagues, hop on Pinterest for some new ideas, or simply make a few changes based on what you’ve seen working and not working in your own classroom.
Integrate New Teaching Techniques
The start of every fall is a great time to utilize new teaching techniques, but the beginning of the spring semester may be an even better time. By now, you know your students well. You know what works well and what doesn’t, how well they respond to specific techniques, and what their learning styles are. Based on all of that information, figure out some new teaching techniques to utilize in the second half of the year. It may involve more physical activity in the classroom to get those kinesthetic learners excited, it might involve more video-based instruction to keep your students focused on the content more, or it may be focused on increasing the amount of group work to improve collaboration and teamwork amongst your students.
Find a Better Balance Between Work and Personal Life
This is a constant challenge for a lot of working adults, but it is especially challenging for teachers. It may be because teachers are so personally invested in their jobs and in the lives of their students, or it may be because they see the impact they can have and feel the weight of the responsibility of their profession. Either way, resolve to improve the balance between your work life and your personal life this semester. This may require that you take some work home with you to simply be at home more, or it may involve staying late at work to finish tasks so that you can be fully present once you return home. It might mean scheduling intentional family time each day or week, or it might mean finding a new hobby so that you give yourself a mental break from your job. Be intentional and mindful about how you’re spending your time and where your mind is when you’re at work or home, and that will help you strike a better balance between the two.
Be Intentional with One Student Every Day
Take the time to connect with one individual student each day. This will benefit the students and make you more aware of what they’re going through in school and in life, so it will make you a better teacher in a lot of ways too. Connecting intentionally each day, even if it’s just with one individual, can have a huge impact and bring a lot of advantages to yourself, your students, and your overall classroom environment.
Practice Positive Thinking
It can be challenging to stay positive all the time, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. When you find yourself thinking negatively, stop yourself and change your negative thought to a positive one. This isn’t about living in ignorance or denying the reality of certain situations, but it’s about reframing circumstances to view them with a more positive attitude and to focus on a growth mindset. As an extra bonus, when you do this intentionally and are transparent about it, your students and coworkers will often follow suit, making your entire school environment more positive and beneficial for everyone.
Prioritize Professional Development
Even if your school doesn’t require a great deal of professional development in the spring semester, find some ways you can prioritize this important part of your job. It may be reading a book, listening to a podcast, following a blogger, or attending a conference. Get together with some colleagues to discuss challenges at work and how you can improve certain situations and overcome problems.
Journal and Reflect
This doesn’t have to be a daily practice, but journaling and intentionally reflecting on the events of a day or week can be incredibly cleansing and beneficial. It will not only help you let go of things that may be bothering you, but it can also help you set out to make improvements and handle difficult situations better in the future.
Add Some Fun
Finally, be sure to add some more fun into your life in the upcoming semester! This may be more important at home or at school for different individuals, but adding some fun will help keep things light and cheery all year round. Being intentional about doing things that make you happy will make you more joyful, better at your job, and a better colleague and friend. Maybe you can implement a weekly challenge with your students or simply pick up a new hobby in your free time. Be purposeful in doing things that you enjoy and you are sure to reap the benefit.