I had high hopes for winter break…grading papers, creating a scope and sequence for the remainder of the year, making anchor charts. Yea, none of that happened. Instead, I spent my break catching up with family and friends, and binge-watching Suits. If I had to do it all again? I’d do the same thing; it was a much-needed break. But now I’m feeling somewhat rested and ready for a fresh start. So, here are a few New Year’s Resolutions that I hope to stick to in 2017.
1. I will complete lesson plans in advance
No more waiting until Sunday Funday to do work. From now on, I will complete my lesson plans on Saturday mornings. As I was typing, I started to write Friday, but let’s be real…Friday evenings are made for happy hours, Modern Family marathons, and/or sleep. If you’re like me, that’s an and. So again, I resolve to complete my lesson plans on Saturdays, which should take away some of the anxiety that comes along with waiting until Sunday afternoons to plan.
2. I will add to my craft
When you’ve been doing something for a long time, it can be easy to fall into a pattern, get comfortable. Checking things off a list becomes second nature. This year, I vow to make an effort to step out of my comfort zone at work. For me, that means teaching more science. While it’s not on the mandated schedule (blasphemy, I know), I will find time to explicitly teach it, not just integrate it here and there. This will be a learning opportunity for me and my students.
3. I will get organized
Yes, I shove things in drawers when I’m short on time, guilty. I’ll attempt to do better in the new year. For starters, I won’t let my students’ papers pile up in the finished bin. I’ll actually review and return papers in a timely manner – not two weeks before grades are due or right before I’m running off to a meeting where I need to show student work. It will be nice to have a system, know where things are when you need them. I will also go through my inbox to delete messages. Just typing that feels so cathartic. Can you imagine an inbox in single digits? That hasn’t existed for me since my first e-mail account…think AOL circa 1998.
4. I will remember the real reason I’m here
At times, it’s so easy to lose track of the real reason you’ve been called to do a certain job. When it comes to teaching, I tend to forget why I’m here because there’s such a huge emphasis placed on standardized test scores. There’s nothing standard about my kids, so I need to keep in mind my teaching philosophy. My philosophy remains that character is just as important as content. Obviously, I want my students to learn how to read, write, and do math, but I also need to teach them how to be people. So when I find myself stressing over the fact that my kids have yet to master 100 sight words, or can’t fluently add and subtract within 10, I’ll ask myself…are they happy? Have you taught them to help others? Again, being a good person is just as important as academics, especially when we have things like autocorrect and calculators at our fingertips. There are no apps that teach you to be a good person, not that I know of.
5. I will be grateful
It’s sooo easy for me to recall and harp on the bad things that happen day to day. But ask me if anything good happened, and I bet I can’t remember it. I get so caught up in assessments, observations, the kid who knocks over all the books in the library that took forever to organize by level. But not this year. I vow to remember the good moments. Like the student who entered the school year not being able to identify the letters in his name, but now he can identify letters and tell you their corresponding sounds. Or the funny moments, like the day one student told me she had an upset stomach and needed some “pepto business.” In the new year, I vow to be grateful for the moments that bring me joy and laughter.
What are your resolutions for 2017?
Happy New Year,