Thursday, January 3, 2008

Teacher New Year's Resolutions

  • Resolve to accept that bad days will happen and that sometimes activities and lessons won't go well. You are not a perfect teacher and never will be, and that's fine.
  • Remember what it was like to be a student. Keep this in mind on days when you feel like ringing their necks.
  • At the same time, resolve to never let your students push you around. Ever. You're in charge. When they try to push the boundaries, let them know the boundaries don't budge.
  • Resolve to say something nice to each of your students at least once a week, if not more.
  • Resolve not to let students fall through the cracks. If someone is having problems, make an effort to do all you can do to help.
  • At the same time, recognize that teaching is a two-way street. Let yourself accept that after a certain point, you've done all you can, and it's the student's' responsibility to get motivated and get it together.
  • Don't compare yourself to other teachers. You can learn from them, but don't beat yourself up if you're not as charismatic or creative or well-liked as that guy down the hall. Just do the best as you can and play upon your own strengths.
  • Make an effort to read up on current events, even though you're busy. Incorporate current events into your classroom.
  • Resolve to grade papers and exams more quickly .
  • Don't forget to take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.
  • Resolve to try new things in your classroom. Be creative, and read up in interesting activities. Look for new ways to present material. If some of these things don't go well, don't worry about it. Keep trying.
  • Stop worrying about whether your students like you. You're not there to be their friend.
  • Put a little time into your own continuing education. Read at least one article every month about teaching methods, and read at least one article a month about your area of study.
  • Resolve to leave the classroom behind at the end of the day. Yeah, you may have papers to grade, but you don't have to go home with the frustrations of a bad day. Let yourself be someone other than the teacher when you go home.
  • Play hookie at least once a semester. Do something nice for yourself, like sleeping late or going to a movie.
  • Get to know your fellow teachers better. Give them an opportunity to vent about their classroom problems with you. Offer help if you can. Be the teacher who brings in birthday cards for all the other teachers to sign. Resolve to invite teachers out for coffee. Don't talk about them behind their backs. You're all in this together.
  • Try to keep your desk neater. Clean up at least once a week. Improve your file system..
  • Stop beating yourself because you think you don't look as good as your students. They're younger than you, and besides, you look great the way you are.
  • Incorporate some kind of service learning into your classroom.
  • Don't let idiotic policies get you down. If you can't change it, live with it and ignore it as much as possible.

© Naomi Rockler-Gladen

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