Every January, the temptation beckons: New Year’s Resolutions. Will this be the year that we actually lose a few pounds, spend more time with your family, learn healthy recipes, or increase your activity levels? We could. We might. We want to. The promise is there, the fresh start is possible. (Even if we don’t always follow through perfectly.)
This year, consider making resolutions for your classroom. Think about what you’d accomplish if you could, identify the things that are holding you back (hint: it isn’t always money), and get your students on board. With half the school year in the books, you have a good idea of what’s working and what isn’t.
We took a tour around the internet to find out what education hubs, teacher blogs, school websites, and various other learning-centric sites are writing about the new year (and new decade!). Here’s a sampling of the best we found:
- Get your students involved. What resolutions would they suggest for your classroom? What would they get rid of, what would they add? If they were teacher for a day, what’s the first thing they’d change? Write the ideas down, revise and refine where needed, and hang them on the wall. Make a note to review them – at the end of a week, a month, a quarter, whatever works – and follow through.
- Get better organized. You’re halfway through the school year; how are your organizational systems working? Do papers and files go where they’re supposed to? Do you have piles of things on your desk that need attention, sorting, or putting away?
- Incorporate games where they make sense, suggests the Scholastic web site. For instance, it suggests Book Bingo, where students fill in spaces on their cards by reading specific authors or genres of books. When a student finishes a row of spaces, they receive a reward — a book of their own, or a classroom privilege.
- If you are an administrator or are in a position to help change the environment, create a coaching culture, says the website AdvancingK12, which focuses on the leadership and culture of education. Districts that are facing teacher shortages could do well to examine how their teacher-evaluation systems and their mentor programs for first-year teachers are working. Don’t wait until the school year ends (when teachers typically resign); take a look at things now, while there’s time to adjust.
- Pay attention to your work-life balance. After coming off the holiday break, you probably felt refreshed and ready; but how soon afterward did you feel overwhelmed again? It can be tempting to work as much as you can in order to get or stay ahead, but that’s not necessarily the best thing for you. Fitness, rest, nutrition, and recreational time all contribute to making you a better teacher overall. Dr. Phil has often commented to overwhelmed moms that “the best way to take care of your children is to take care of their mother.” Put yourself in that equation: The best way to take care of your students is to take care of their teacher.
- Improve your professional resources. Have you recently felt that you need more education in a specific area? More professional development targeted to a specific need? Start looking now at ways that you can improve or add to the skills you bring to the classroom.
Dominican University of California offers professional development and continuing education courses in many disciplines: administration, art and music, athletic coaching, classroom management, educational outreach, educational travel, health and wellness, language arts and ELL courses, mathematics, professional reading, science, social studies, special education, and technology. The courses are online, self-paced, and fulfill from one to six continuing education credits. Some courses that would help with the above resolutions:
- The Passion-Driven Education series: Three courses focus on the establishment and curation of a creative, passionate environment in the classroom, for both teacher and student. They include: Teacher and Student Passion (EDUO 9747), Passionate Classroom Communities (EDUO 9748), and Passionate and Engaging Lesson Planning (EDUO9749).
- The Teaching Life’s Essentials series includes seven courses designed to work together (but not required to be taken together). “Great teachers are remembered not for the knowledge they impart, but for the way they encourage and lift their students’ achievement, not just in a subject, but in the important skills of living a fulfilling life,” says the series summary. The seven courses cover happiness, compassion, curiosity, resilience, growth mindset, inspiration, and tolerance.
- Self-Care and Wellness courses include several that focus on your own health and well-being. Various classes focus on Managing Work and Life (EDUO 9053), The Science of Gratitude (EDUO 9052), Building Social Connections and Support Systems (EDUO 9051), and Implementing Self-Care (EDUO 9054). Don’t know where to begin? Start with Health and Wellness for the Educator (EDUO 9533), which includes nutrition, fitness, and social wellness.
Resolved to make 2020 an even better year? Let DominicanCAonline help. Click here and find a course that suits you and your classroom.
Photo credit: CnOra via iStock