Well, I survived the week before Christmas with my fourth graders. The excitement was high and attention was low but we made it. Christmas break is finally here and I can take a few days to relax and reflect on the past four months and the remaining six months.
As I prepare my list of resolutions for 2013, I am reminded of the many resolutions I have yet to keep from 2012! Why do I set such high demands of myself every year? The same thing happens- when I do not meet those demands, I feel so guilty and resolve to do better the following year. It is a ridiculous cycle.
This year I have decided to only make five classroom resolutions that I know I can keep.
I resolve to laugh every day. I know what you are thinking, how can you laugh every day when you have tests, paper work, behavior issues, meetings, parent issues, and so much more? I look for those moments and let them happen. I spend so much time instructing, preparing, and lecturing, that it is time to just laugh and enjoy teaching. Trust me, with kids, there is always a laughable moment!
I resolve to listen more to my students. I have students who love to share their lives with me- sometimes in the middle of a math lesson. While I am not saying, I will stop a division lesson to hear about last night's soccer game, I will pick my head up from my grade book during snack time, and listen to what is important to my students.
I resolve to “play” more with my students. I take turns having recess duty with another teacher. Many times I have been asked to play four square or kickball with my students. I usually decline stating I need to watch the playground (mind you there are two other teachers on duty), I have the wrong shoes on, or any other excuse I can think of at the time. This year I will join in when asked. I will build with legos, play Sorry, and help put together a puzzle. I will enjoy playtime.
I resolve to make every student feel they are important. We all have our “favorites” even if we don't want to admit it. I do. She is a little peanut. She is sweet, kind to her friends, and always smiling. She also just happens to have ADD and requires a little more of my attention than the others. Then there is “the other student”, a “not so favorite” who talks incessively, doesn't listen, fidgets with things in his desk and often the desks of others, and doesn't follow directions. You know the one- we all have a student (or two) like this. They are harder to give that little extra attention to but need it just the same- sometimes more. I resolve to give him a more of my attention. To be more patient and understanding so that he will feel just as important as my little peanut.
I resolve to stress less and go with the flow. Tomorrow is another day. I have always overplanned when it comes to my lessons. Better to have too much to do than not enough. At least that is what I was told in college would help keep behavior issues to a minimum. Keep them busy! Problem with this idea is that when we don't accomplish all I have planned, I tend to freak out and worry we will get behind. Not every page in the workbook has to be completed and not every science experiment has to be tested. There are so many teachable moments that just happen. They are not written down in the lesson plan book. I resolve to go with them.
There are more resolutions I could make, lots more, such as becoming more organized, turn in lesson plans on time, managing my breaks better, grade papers before they take over my desk, read more professional literature, and of course lose ten pounds, but in light of recent events so close to home, I want to treasure every moment with my students and remember why I became a teacher in the first place- to make a difference.
What are your new year's resolutions?