Being a teacher may be the most rewarding job out there. To literally shape the future is a demanding and awe-inspiring position. Still, it is also a profession that constantly demands change and improvement. What worked at one time rarely still works today. Fortunately, there is always a new day to try something new. Here are five things I hope to improve after the New Years.
Find a way to increase parental involvement
There are many reasons why parents don’t get as involved in education as we as teachers might want them to be. Bad personal experiences in school, the knowledge that their child stays in trouble, and the fear of being made to feel less intelligent have created a situation where most parents don’t feel welcome in schools today. To make it worse, parents have often been given the run around by their children’s schools. How to fix this issue? Fortunately, we live in a world that is increasingly changing the way communication takes place. I plan on utilizing a class Facebook page to stay in contact with parents. Plus, SC is transitioning to an online gradebook, which will allow parents to view their children’s grades and attendance from the comfort of their own home.
Increase my use of technology
To go along with that, as teachers we MUST find a way to utilize technology in the classroom. As a child of the 80s, I remember hearing teachers talk about how they had to compete with cable TV and video games. Kids today have much more technological distractions. Meanwhile, many teachers still see the world of education from a 19th century perspective. Our students don’t want to read books, when they could read a computer screen. And they don’t want to hear a lecture all the time, when that time could be better spent watching Youtube. This year, I resolve to increase my use of technology. Used properly, my lessons could become multi-media wonders and could reach children with the attention of a fruit fly.
Create a team feel
As a middle school teacher, I currently teach 80 kids. I firmly believe that my students will perform better if they see themselves as a team. Our middle school is based on the team concept, and I don’t get to teach the gifted students. I need to find a way to convince my students that their team is every bit as bright as the kids who are the “GT” students. Instead of picking on each other and tearing each other down, they need to find a way to root for each other and celebrate each others’ victories.
Get them to reach for the stars
Children have so much potential. We just have to convince them to use it. Often times, the kids we teach are beaten down at home. So many children today don’t come from a loving home or a home where they are told they can achieve anything. Many have little self-respect. I hope to convince my students that they have a right to dream. They need to aim for the stars. And I hope to convince them that even if they don’t quite reach the goal, it’s better to have tried than to have wasted every opportunity.
Stave off the impending nervous breakdown before Spring Break
After Christmas break, kids come back full of energy and with “spring fever.” This is one of the few things you can count on more than death and taxes. As such, by the end of January, I am usually ready to rip my hair out. I resolve this year to relax. I plan on enjoying the second half of the year and taking a breather. The year hasn’t been that bad and I hope to finish strong. Hopefully, I will do it with a degree of sanity left. We will see.
It’s always easy to make New Year’s resolutions. Like most people, I often blow them quickly. I hope to really achieve these though, because my students are great and deserve only the best. Sadly though, I think there is a nice white jacket waiting for me before Spring Break this year.