Like most teachers, I am busy juggling the various facets of a job that requires more than most know, so finding the time to honestly and truly reflect is tough to say the least. Yet, in the fleeting moments I have had, I have come to some significant revelations about who I am as a teacher, why I do the job, and, most importantly, how I can improve.
So, as the second half of the school year approaches, I have decided to make a few New Year’s resolutions to keep me accountable to what I want to be.
Live in honesty: While this goes without saying in my interaction with others, especially with my students, it really drives at the relationship I have with my own decisions. Whether in an instructional choice or in a more personal one, I know that I cannot sugar-coat anything or leave room for rationalizations. I have to brutally look at what I did and give an honest evaluation of my performance. If not, I sell the kids false goods, and that is unacceptable.
Waste no time: Even on my bad days, the ones when I feel like my head is going to burst or my eyes just cannot stay open from days of grading as the quarter ends, the work provided must offer legitimate benefits and have a real purpose. I remember sitting in classrooms where I could tell the teacher was not prepared or did not care, and I never want my kids to feel that way. No fluff lessons that buy time.
Shut the door and teach: Education has become a business. All too often do extraneous and superfluous things invade my day and distract me from my real job. If I truly teach-when the bell rings I give everything I can, then I have had a successful day. I can deal with the other stuff later, as it is secondary to what my purpose is and needs to be.
Every student matters: With over 120 students, it is easy to miss someone or forget about the quiet kid. It is simple to dismiss the student who seemingly doesn’t care or who has been a problem. But, despite the natural excuses in doing so, it is not right. Every kid, even if he doesn’t show it directly, wants help and adores attention. It is up to me to find the right angle and never give up.
Use the time provided: Wasting prep periods or collaborative times makes the rest of my life difficult. Knowing that I need time for myself and my own children, I have to utilize each chance in school to be productive. This way I can plan well, get papers back in a timely and efficient manner, and leave time outside of work for my family and individual interests.