The New Year is a time of reflection and goal setting. Reflection on the previous year (and wondering why it went so fast), and goal setting for the year ahead.
Teachers are no stranger to New Year Resolutions. We set goals all year long, but there is something about January 1st that makes setting a new goal so exhilarating.
Maybe we set a goal, but it didn’t go as planned, so it’s time to try again. Maybe we saw this great idea on social media and want to give it a shot. Or maybe we are feeling a little overwhelmed and need to get more organized or to do something for ourselves.
Either way, these 5 New Year resolutions are goals that every teacher can relate to and are inspirational for the fast approaching New Year.
1. Get organized and make better use of your planning time.
You know how in everyone’s house, there is that one chair or table and it’s usually where all the things go to die. Yeah, well… every teacher has this spot in their classroom too. (Yeah, I know your secret… it’s my secret too!). It’s an endless black pit of stuff that you’ve managed to acquire, but haven’t gotten to organize yet
The more organized your classroom is, the more organized your planning time will be. All of your copies will be in one place, organized and ready to be used in your classroom.
2. Spend less time at the copy machine.
With your organization down, you’ll now be spending less time at the copy machine.
Whether it’s sticky notes, paper clips, a spreadsheet you fill out to keep your copy numbers written down and organized, or a room mom that copies it all for you… you CAN spend less time at the copy machine.
3. Stop procrastinating on grading.
First, how many grades are you contracted to provide each week per subject? And how long does it take for you to enter grades?
Use this information to determine your goal.
P.S. If there were ever a New Year Resolution that gets made every year, this one would be it for me. I have yet to find a system that works well for me when it comes to actually getting myself to input grades into the computer, so if you have any suggestions, leave a comment to let me know how you stay on top of this tedious task.
4. Talk to parents more about positive things.
Parents trust you with their children for 7 hours+ each weekday. That’s a huge chunk of awake time that students are spending with you, so it’s only fair that you are communicating with parents daily to let them know about their child’s day.
There are quite a few ways to keep parents in the know, but it ultimately comes down to what is easiest and most functional for you. It’s also important to know that what works for one teacher may or may not work for another teacher. The type of parent communication may also vary based on parent preference.
The best way to set a goal for more positive interactions with parents is to think about what you’re currently doing, and ask yourself how can you tweak it to make it better. You may even be able to entrust students to fill out a daily “survey” or reflection that goes home.
Whatever works, it’s all about building and sustaining a positive, trusting relationship with parents.
5. Stay positive and take care of yourself too.
A healthy work-life balance can be difficult to achieve, but it’s not impossible. Staying positive and healthy, both physically and mentally are imperative to your teacher lifestyle.
Take time each day to do one thing that’s just for you. Whether that’s your cup of coffee in silence in the AM, or sitting in your car in the driveway for 5 minutes to listen to your favorite song after work… take the time to detox yourself from the day. Each day.
There are multiple ways to still do a few work things at home too, but relax and recharge to rebalance your life. Set a time goal that you won’t do any school work after dinner or after 8PM. Or maybe you’ll only take work home with you on Tuesday and Thursday. Set simple goals that you know you can stick to.
Just know that the work we do as teachers is never done, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. Please don’t forget to take care of yourself and take some well-deserved time for you too. Because you are important and you matter.
By Stephanie DeLussey
This piece was originally published in 2017.