Being a good teacher is hard. You spend way too much time with your school work and not enough time with your dishwasher, laundry machine, and, sadly, your family. How do you balance those things? This is something that, as a new mom, I’ve been struggling with. How do I give all I have to my students while giving all I have to my husband and daughter? I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. I’ve always tried to make them, but the moment they clashed with everything else in my life, well, they were the first thing to go. This year, I’m hoping to make the most of this time-honored tradition and make, and hopefully keep, a few New Year’s resolutions in order to be a better teacher, a better wife and mother, and, more importantly, keep myself from going crazy trying to balance the two.
Goal 1: Teach goals and keep them.
The first idea that I have is to teach my students how to keep goals. By teaching them, I have to research the process of writing a good goal and keeping track of them. Then, I can make my goal setting experience a model for my classroom, as well as a means of trying to balance my life. My students will love the idea that their teacher is doing the same thing they are, as I teach them to keep goals and keep track of them and then do it myself. Usually if the teacher is willing to do the same work as their students, it tends to bring a sense of balance to a student’s world and suddenly the “busy work,” excuse becomes something of the past and the excuses go out the window.
Goal 2: Set personal grading deadlines.
As an English teacher, grading can be a monumental task. Essays take time, especially when you have heavy duty commenting to do. I find that when I have so much essay grading to do, I tend to procrastinate, just like my students, which leaves me having tons of papers to grade and having student essays for much too long. I want to set myself grading deadlines of no more than 3 weeks on each paper. I will enforce this by telling my students that this will be the case and then they become the harassers of me. This will help them to get an example, but also give them a sense of empowerment because they get to hold me to my goals.
Goal 3: Make use of technological “helpers.”
In education, there are so many tools that we have available that we often don’t know. I plan on making use of more of the technological assets that I have available. I plan on having my students turn in essays in Google Docs, thus eliminating paper, but also making it so that I can access their essays from other and make their papers more of an interactive experience. It allows me to give them feedback more quickly and also takes away the excuse of me forgetting papers at school. I will also use my wikispace, Skyward, My Access, and other such programs I have available for online assignments, quizzes, notes, and essay grading. There are so many things available that help cut back grading and also make things more streamlined for our students as well.
Goal 4: Plan ahead.
I always find myself playing catchup. There’s no worse feeling when you get to school and realize that you have no idea what you’re doing that day. Then, you spend the rest of the day running around trying to make sure you have everything you need. I want to be planned at least two weeks in advance, complete with copies. This will help me to not worry about things when I’m at home, and also help me to be ready, in the event that I need to change something. Being planned and ready is a relief and I want to make sure that I’m always ready for anything.
Goal 5: Organize my classroom.
Just like my kitchen, my classroom tends to get a bit disorganized as the quarter goes on. This leaves a feeling of things just being hectic. I think that if I can organize my classroom, not to mention my desk, it will make it easier to get through the day and easier to know what I need to do in order to keep up with my students’ work. I think that I will have a more relaxed feeling and my students will also feel the same. This will also make it so that when I come home, my home doesn’t continue the mess and I’m not so exhausted from dealing with a school mess to take care of the mess at home.
These are just five of the things that I hope will help me to be a better teacher, mother, and wife. I want to find a balance and I think that these things will not only help me find that balance, but also create a better environment for my students to learn. If nothing else, they’ll just make for a happier me, and that’s really what matters.