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5 New Year’s Resolutions for teachers

By Mark Richards,

24 Jan 2020

The new year is, of course, the time for the annual tradition of making resolutions.

Every year millions of people do this and teachers are no exception. Although it might well be the case that the vast majority of new year’s resolutions have gone by the wayside by the end of January, this need not be the case – especially for teachers.

You see, teachers are well-versed in the skill of reflection – any classroom practitioner simply needs to be.

Teachers are also adept at thinking ahead and planning for the future.

What’s more, they also get three ready-made ‘clean slates’ a year - perfect opportunities to start afresh - in the shape of the start of each term in the academic year. All in all, teachers should be well-placed to come up with professional resolutions that stick.

Here are a few ideas to inspire you for 2019.
  1. Stay positive
Christmas represents a much-needed break and a chance to spend quality time with friends and family.

However, if you’re not careful – especially if you need to spend the last few days of the holiday catching up with marking – it’s easy for the battery recharge to fall pretty flat pretty quickly.

The trick is to stay positive.

If failing to plan is planning to fail, then going into anything with a negative attitude is conceding defeat and accepting disappointment from the off. Of course, it’s sometimes easier said than done to maintain a positive frame of mind.

It doesn’t just happen, you often need to do mix things up and change to make you feel good about things.

Try these:
  1. Revitalise your classroom routine
They say variety is the spice of life, and the same is true of your classroom routine.

Of course, routine is successful because it means pupils know your expectations and what your boundaries are.

Once your classroom routines are established, you need to stick to them – but this doesn’t mean you can’t spice things up every now and then.  Why not try out a new teaching technique, strategy or technology each week or month in the classroom? This keeps things fresh and challenging for you and your students.
  1. Focus only on the things that you can change
It’s often those annoying whole-school policies, the relentless schedule of meetings, or the mounds of admin and paperwork that get teachers down the most.

The thing is, you can’t change any of these things – so there’s no point worrying about them.

Focus on the things you can change and the areas you can impact instead.
  1. Give more individual time to students
This doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be formal meetings or tutoring sessions, but you should try to devise a way of giving more individual time to students.

This could be by creating a rota that means students take it in turns to work with you or help you in some way.

It might be that you vow to work your way around the classroom over time.

Often it is the pupils that make the most noise or who are the naughtiest that demand most of our attention.

It benefits all if you can spread your attention around.
  1. Empower students
A great way of getting the best out of students and helping them to feel positive about their education is to give them more ownership of it.

If you can think of ways to give students more of a say, more responsibility, or more control of their learning, you should.

It’s a win-win situation for all. Of course, we could go on and on – but better to focus on 5 resolutions that could make a real difference than 15 or 55.

Keep things manageable and you have more chance of success.

However, as it’s the start of the new year it is the perfect time to think ahead.

Is this year the right time for you to seek promotion? If so, plan how you intend to go about it. Whatever your plans are and what the pressures might be, you should commit to doing your best to do something in 2019 that will make you feel fitter and healthier – physically or mentally. Your mantra for 2019 should be ‘Work Smarter, Not Harder’!