I love turning the page on the calendar over to a new year. It’s such a great feeling to have an opportunity for a fresh start, a new outlook and invigorated energy. And no place can a fresh start have a bigger impact than in your classroom. Here are 10 new year’s resolutions for teachers that will inspire you to start January off with a bang!
10 New Year’s Resolutions for Teachers
1. Refresh your space.
The new year really is a great time to hit the refresh button. Dump or donate all old the stuff that is just taking up space in your classroom. Throw away anything that’s worn out or things that are broken or incomplete. Take advantage of post-holiday sales to buy new storage solutions. Come up with a new filing system for all that paperwork. Clean up, clear out and get organized. Trust me, your ready-for-summer self will appreciate this resolution!
2. Worry less about content, more about connections.
Halfway through the school year you’ve gotten past the ‘get to know you’ phase with your students. You have a pretty good grasp on their strengths and challenges, personalities and preferences. Now is the time to dig in and make deeper connections with your students to help them not only progress academically but as human beings. Remember, students who feel loved and valued will work harder for you!
3. Look for golden moments.
Our days as teachers are so full and so busy, sometimes we get hung up on sticking with the agenda and let precious moments with our students pass right by without notice. The silly playful moments. The aha moments. The ‘I just need a little reassurance’ moments. Resolve to be more fully present and enjoy the company of the little people in your care.
4. Take more risks.
Yes, there is content that needs to be taught and standards that must be met. And maybe you’ve got a tried and true routine for getting it all done. But why not change things up a little bit and try a new approach? Introduce more technology into your instruction, invite a dynamic guest speaker to talk with your class, approach another teacher about co-teaching a unit. Taking risks and trying new things will help you stay energized and challenged.
5. Work smarter, not harder.
This concept is nothing new, but it’s worth noting because it’s such a valuable principle of work. Take a look at how your year has gone so far and assess what’s working and what needs to change. As teacher, you don’t have to be a one-woman (or man) show. Transfer more of the responsibility for learning onto your students. Give them choices and options that will help them grow and take some of the load off of your shoulders.
6. Silence your inner critic.
I hate to say it, but a vast majority of teachers I know tend to be perfectionists. One of THE BEST New Year’s Resolutions for teachers is to give yourself some grace. And with so much to do and accomplish it’s easy to get caught up on what’s not getting done and where we’re falling short. Now is the time, once and for all, to tell that critical little voice in your head to shove off! You don’t have to be perfect to be a great teacher. Put your heart into each day, try your best, then let it go!
7. Savor your accomplishments.
Stop and take note of the little victories that happen in your classroom on an everyday basis. For example, when masterfully introduce a new concept to the class, when your observation goes spectacularly, or when you get a note of thanks from a parent. Pause and soak it in. Write it down. Snap a pic. Just like taking the time to write in a gratitude journal, when you stop and acknowledge all the fine work you’re accomplishing, it seems to make way for even more good things to happen.
8. Shake things up.
Infuse new energy into your classroom by changing up classroom routines. Move the desks or tables around to give everyone a new perspective. Put up a fresh new bulletin board display. Regroup table groups so kids get a chance to branch out socially. Shift around leadership positions to give new kids a chance to shine.
9. Choose balance.
Teaching is the kind of job you could do endlessly. Make a conscience effort not to be working every spare moment. Put systems into place that allow you to leave work at work. Repeat to yourself: I deserve to have a life. Don’t let yourself be swallowed up by your job or you’ll end up exhausted and ineffective.
10. Treat yo’self!
Indulge yourself in little ways as often as you can during the school day. Pack a lunch you’ll spend all morning looking forward to. Always have a secret chocolate/sweet supply at the ready. Bring in your favorite mug and a supply of teabags so you can sip and relax during planning periods. Keep your favorite hand lotion handy. Buy some fun and fancy pens (my favorite is InkJoy!) just for you. Place a few new photos of loved ones on your desk.
No one says you have to take on this whole list of new year’s resolutions for teachers! Read through, pick one or two that you feel would add the most value to your life and give it a go! And if day one doesn’t work, you’ve got 364 more blank pages. Wishing you the most happiest and healthiest new year!
Until next time,