Happy New Year! I am sitting here on my last day of winter break submitting lesson plans, inspecting my new rosters, and looking ahead to another spring semester in the 11th grade. In many ways, I have come to a happy place in my classroom career. I have a pretty firm grasp on my curriculum, good relationships with my colleagues (after giving up drama for last year's resolution) and I genuinely enjoy many of my students, which is good since we are really packing them in these days! That being said, we all know that both classrooms and teaching careers are dynamic animals and so I still have many resolutions I'd like to make this year. Below are a few of my teacher new year's resolutions. I'd love to hear your goals in the comment section below!
This year, I resolve to:
1. Focus more on individuals. I've noticed over the last two years that I don't know my students as individuals as well as I used to. I think this is in part due to the fact that I have been concentrating so heavily on honing my curriculum and in part due to the fact that I have had a couple of major life stressors recently. Whatever the reason, I would like to concentrate this semester on being more attentive to individual situations, personalities, passions, and patterns. Knowing students on an individual level goes so far toward assessing academic and behavioral needs.
2. Clean out my cabinets. I'll admit it. I am a classroom hoarder. I have spent a decade keeping every scrap of construction paper, bottle of old glue, stack of ancient magazines, and everything else that I MAY use one day. While many of these things are useful, it is time to take inventory and begin to use up, give away, or throw away my stores.
3. Remember to say please and thank you. In teaching my 3 year old to say please and thank you, he has often pointed out my deficiency in using these magic words myself. As at home, I find myself in the classroom asking a student to turn out the lights, close the door, pass back papers, a do other jobs without always remembering my pleases and my thank yous. It is time to be a better model of politeness.
4. Embrace complexity at all levels. I preach to my advanced classes about pushing past the rote and the formulaic responses in their discussions and writing prompts, but I often allow other classes to cling to the scaffold for far too long. Rhetoric, writing, and American lit are complicated beasts, it is time to make sure that I give all students more opportunity to wrestle with the complexity.
What about you? Do you have any resolutions for this year? We'd love to hear them!