The coming of a new year is a time of reflection, and since reflection is a big part of an educator’s practice (at least, that’s what most districts say in our evaluations), allow me to offer you some resolution ideas to adopt for 2014.
Allow technology to make your job easier
At every school, there are teachers that are technology rock stars. You might be one of them, considering you’re reading this blog. For those that aren’t, figure out the thing you hate most about the job, such as grading or discipline, and do some research to find a way that technology can help make that task easier. Chances are, someone has come up with a way already. It’s probably even free!
Do not allow the words “Common Core” to be spoken in your classroom
This is about separating politics from practice. You should view your classroom as a sanctuary for learning (perhaps the world’s loudest sanctuary, but still). Talk of initiatives and standards belongs in faculty meetings and school board agendas, not in how you accomplish the day-to-day work of teaching. It’s about connecting with the kids as well as saving a place in your life where the outside pressures of the job have as little of an effect as possible.
Try something new
You keep hearing me say this, but it’s true. This is an exciting time in education, where the abilities of technology can finally meet creative pedagogical practice. Ideas like flipped learning simply weren’t possible ten years ago. Educators that don’t try some of these ideas out, or don’t start coming up with their own, risk being left behind by teachers who will experience greater success and less stress in the process. Not everything will work for every classroom, but it’s worth plugging in some of these ideas to find out.
Above all, take care of yourself
Life is about balance and teachers are notorious for allowing themselves to get out of equilibrium. Many teachers have decided to decorate their living rooms, bedrooms, and even bathrooms with papers to grade. If that sounds like you, find some more time for yourself and your family this year. Carve out an hour to read or exercise, even if you have to do it on campus before or after school. Create a weekly family movie night. Summers are great, but two months does not a relationship or sanity make.
Here’s wishing you a happy and successful new year. Only 45 or so school days to go until Spring Break!