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3 New Years Resolutions for Every Teacher

Friday, December 28, 2012 -- Scott Sterling

We find ourselves in that blessed two weeks where the only professional development being accomplished is sleeping more than usual. Once the gifts are opened and the ham is wrapped up for leftovers, everyone’s mind turns to self-improvement.

New Years resolutions are fun because they provide the sense that we have the self-control to end our bad habits and move toward personal growth. Believe it or not, some people actually follow through on theirs for longer than a week!

Here are some ideas for you to adopt as your resolutions for the coming calendar year. I hope that they last at least to the end of the school year.

Adopt a more positive outlook at school

I wrote about positivity for teachers a couple of weeks ago, but I feel so strongly about it that I’m willing to mention it again here. Positivity affects everything in your path. It puts your career on an upward trajectory. It puts your students on an upward trajectory. It might even put their parents on an upward trajectory if you initiate more positive calls/e-mails. There is nothing to lose and a complete reformation of your career to gain.

Be an agent for change wherever possible

Every teacher sees something that can be improved in our system, his or her school district, his or her school, or even their department. Too many are afraid to do something, waiting for someone with more power or seniority to notice what needs to be done. As Newtown showed us, our time is short. Our careers are even shorter. Describe your idea to your superiors. Chances are if you’re willing to make the effort, they’ll let you run with it as long as it doesn’t cost a lot of money. If it does, there are ways to make that happen as well.

Get aggressive about making your work easier

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!” No one is suggesting that you go to the lengths he went to streamline his life, but there are plenty of new technologies, websites, and tricks out there that help teachers find more time, be more efficient, and maintain their sanity. Subscribe to a few educational blogs (including this one, of course) that specialize in highlighting these “lifehacks” and then get aggressive about implementing ideas that you like. We live in a great time where people are coming up with brainstorms all of the time and then have the means to let the world know. We just have to find them.

Best wishes to you and your students in 2013. I know it will be a success!