Being a teacher, I am blessed with constant fresh starts. Each fall, I get to feel like a kid again with new clothes plus an optimistic outlook that this year, I will be a better teacher. Then, each quarter I get to start with a clean grade book and no papers waiting to be graded. Even better, I get a SECOND fresh start along with the rest of the world at New Year’s.
So, here are my 5 New Year’s resolutions for my classroom:
1) Do more activities that my students and I enjoy, even if they seem less ‘academic,’ like the newly implemented monthly assignment where students bring in a current event related to education or literature. Many of them bring in book reviews, and I feel like they actually show interest in books that their peers present.
2) Get assignments returned more quickly to the students so they can learn from their mistakes when the assignment is still fresh in their mind. Grading is the Achilles’ heel of an English teacher because while I know writing is important for their future, having 80 essays to grade can be overwhelming.
3) Have more reading time in class. Many debate about how or if students should read in class, but the truth is, my students have a ton of homework and reading falls to the bottom of their priorities. Maybe reading in class, even for just five minutes a day, will help them see that they can finish more than they thought in a short time. Then, if they do this throughout the day, they can get that night’s reading done easily.
4) Make a calendar for the entire semester to hand out when they get back from Winter break. I usually make unit calendars (about a month long), but maybe making this change will be a reality check about what we have to get accomplished this spring and help them be a little more motivated and organized.
5) Stop letting little things student’s say hurt my feelings. Just like in real life, we tend to let the negative things (that guy cut me off!) stick with us more than the acts of kindness (someone letting you merge over). I will consciously focus on the positive things they say which will make me a happier, more patient and therefore better teacher.