By Teachers, For Teachers
As 2011 approaches, I know that many of us are scrambling to come up with our New Year’s Resolutions. Pretty soon we will see the expected extra long lines for the treadmill at the gym and empty shelves of bagged salad at the grocery store.
Personally, I have been trying to succeed at my omni-present resolution to “be more positive” as well as my other nagging desire to “enjoy working out more.” No matter how hard I try, these goals always seem to elude me by oh, say February. And then it’s down the shame spiral we go.
This year I realized that there are two obvious problems with my resolutions.
1. They are horribly general. They don’t really name any specific behavior or situations.
2. They lack a plan. (And you know I love a good color-coded plan!)
So for 2011, I have revolutionized my resolutions!
Instead of just “being more positive,” I am going to try my hardest to not dwell on the negative aspects of life that are out of my control by writing down my feelings and then letting them go. See? No more overarching happiness and/or fake grin spread ear to ear, but a specific declaration of when and how I’m going to be more positive when I start to feel myself creeping toward negative land.
Rather than trying to “enjoy working out more”, I’m resolving to try four new exercise classes/types (yoga, kick boxing, Pilates, and running) that I have always thought about but never really committed to. I’m going to give each one a month and see how I feel.
At this point, you are probably wondering what all my babbling has to do with teaching?
Well, with the new year upon us, it might just be time for all us teacher-types to re-evaluate the last four months of school and make specific professional resolutions that include a little planning and thought.
For example, instead of the ever-popular “be more organized,” try being more organized by creating a master To Do list that has a specific home in your classroom and is color coded by responsibility type or subject.
Or instead of “not letting papers pile up,” think about resolving to stay on top of all your paperwork by setting aside a specific time to dedicate to grading and/or various administrative type tasks.
This idea could work for your class as well, no matter what grade you teach. Spend some time as a group thinking about September through December. Acknowledge some of your accomplishments and positive attributes as a group, but also encourage critical thinking about areas of improvement.
Have children fill in a sentence perhaps.
“We can improve at ______________ by ___________________.”
“We can do a better job of ________________by __________________.”
To me, the “by” part is the most important part of that sentence because it shows children that setting goals is an important task, but equally important is the act of creating a do-able path toward reaching that goal.
And don’t forget to set some goals for how you’re going to stay sane in your classroom! Hey, one year I resolved to keep lotion and a tube of Chap Stick in several corners around my room and it changed my life!
No matter how big or small your resolve, good luck with your newly set goals and let’s have a fabulous 2011!
What is your New Year’s resolution and how do you plan on accomplishing it? Share in the comments section!