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December 30, 2015

New Year's Resolutions for Teachers

By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Really, I’ve never truly kept one, but I’m always trying. That counts, right? Each year at this time I get swept up in "Auld Lang Syne" nostalgia and think of my blessings over the past year. Then I feel compelled to lay down some tough love for myself in the form of identifying ways I can to do better in the new year. There's nothing like the idea of a fresh start to get you going. What if we applied that motivation to school? What would a teacher’s list of resolutions look like? Maybe a little something like this:

     

    resolution fiveI will either grade the papers that are in the bag, or not take the bag at all.

    You know you do it: that bag of papers to grade and work to do dutifully travels home each night, and travels right back the next day, occasionally untouched. Now, I normally buckle down and knock out at least a few things, aiming to work for a couple of hours each night. Do I ever completely unload and dispense with all the tasks in the bag? Nope. But I now resolve to only bring home what I will actually tackle. This year, the bag stays or goes, but it doesn’t merely travel.

     

    resolution 4Speaking of the bag, I will take out all that stuff.

    What is that stuff? How did the bag of things to grade, file, cut out, or save become some bottomless pit of random papers? I leaf through it and discover things I can’t put away — what if I forgot about them?! I can’t take them home, they belong at school. I can’t leave them at school, I might need them at home (when I’m grading, see resolution 5). So, once and for all, I resolve to clean out “the bag.” Or if I’m really honest, all the bags.

     

    resolution threeI will not “forget” my lunch.

    I usually toss the same tired foods in a reused plastic sack from the store and bring it to school for my lunch. Since I routinely forget to refrigerate it, at lunchtime I’m eating those boring carrot sticks with lukewarm yogurt — unless I "forget" my lunch. Maybe it really does slip my mind. Maybe it happens to be (yum!) crispito day. Or maybe I know that my co-worker has an elective right before lunch and will pick up some tasty forbidden off-campus food. For 2016, I resolve to perk up my healthy options from home with some variety. Maybe I’ll even refrigerate.

     

    resolution twoI will actually attempt outfits every day.

    Well, maybe four out of five days. I’m no Lindsey Petlack. (In case you don’t know, my fellow Top Teaching blogger Lindsey doubles as a fashion maven.) Stitch Fix, I love you, but you are out of my price range for daily dressing — I teach after all. And while I can doll up when required, I just don’t make a big effort when I’m going to be wielding glue, avoiding sneezes, and dodging mud puddles. But I’ll admit, I could try. I’ll at least try to try.

     

    resolution oneI will buy a yardstick.

    Maybe for you it isn’t a yardstick; maybe it’s a stapler, nail file, green pen, or extra glue sticks. Everyone has that one item that would cost only a little, but you just don’t or won’t buy one. I buy books and gadgets out-of-pocket all the time, so it's not the money. It's just that whenever I am in a store where a yardstick is available, it escapes my mind that I need to purchase this one item. Also, when I need a yardstick I know where fellow teacher Mrs. Winberg keeps hers. Even my students know where she keeps it, since we borrow it all the time! This year, I will make that $2 commitment.

     

    2016 resolutionsHappy New Year!

    I resolve to push a little harder, give a little more, connect a little deeper, and get there just a little earlier. Don’t we all? Each year we start refreshed and new. We set the bar somewhere near impossible — for ourselves and our students. Despite our faults, the kids tend to do just fine, some even knock it out of the park. This year, as always, I will try to give more than my best and hope that’s good enough. I’ll also try to save some of my best self for home and not work every Saturday. I’ll try to remember that it’s OK if I take that sick day when it’s needed. I’ll remember that being “just” a teacher and making a difference in a kid's life is more important than any other resolution. And I’ll remember why I love this job.

    What resolutions, silly or serious, do you plan this year?

    I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Really, I’ve never truly kept one, but I’m always trying. That counts, right? Each year at this time I get swept up in "Auld Lang Syne" nostalgia and think of my blessings over the past year. Then I feel compelled to lay down some tough love for myself in the form of identifying ways I can to do better in the new year. There's nothing like the idea of a fresh start to get you going. What if we applied that motivation to school? What would a teacher’s list of resolutions look like? Maybe a little something like this:

     

    resolution fiveI will either grade the papers that are in the bag, or not take the bag at all.

    You know you do it: that bag of papers to grade and work to do dutifully travels home each night, and travels right back the next day, occasionally untouched. Now, I normally buckle down and knock out at least a few things, aiming to work for a couple of hours each night. Do I ever completely unload and dispense with all the tasks in the bag? Nope. But I now resolve to only bring home what I will actually tackle. This year, the bag stays or goes, but it doesn’t merely travel.

     

    resolution 4Speaking of the bag, I will take out all that stuff.

    What is that stuff? How did the bag of things to grade, file, cut out, or save become some bottomless pit of random papers? I leaf through it and discover things I can’t put away — what if I forgot about them?! I can’t take them home, they belong at school. I can’t leave them at school, I might need them at home (when I’m grading, see resolution 5). So, once and for all, I resolve to clean out “the bag.” Or if I’m really honest, all the bags.

     

    resolution threeI will not “forget” my lunch.

    I usually toss the same tired foods in a reused plastic sack from the store and bring it to school for my lunch. Since I routinely forget to refrigerate it, at lunchtime I’m eating those boring carrot sticks with lukewarm yogurt — unless I "forget" my lunch. Maybe it really does slip my mind. Maybe it happens to be (yum!) crispito day. Or maybe I know that my co-worker has an elective right before lunch and will pick up some tasty forbidden off-campus food. For 2016, I resolve to perk up my healthy options from home with some variety. Maybe I’ll even refrigerate.

     

    resolution twoI will actually attempt outfits every day.

    Well, maybe four out of five days. I’m no Lindsey Petlack. (In case you don’t know, my fellow Top Teaching blogger Lindsey doubles as a fashion maven.) Stitch Fix, I love you, but you are out of my price range for daily dressing — I teach after all. And while I can doll up when required, I just don’t make a big effort when I’m going to be wielding glue, avoiding sneezes, and dodging mud puddles. But I’ll admit, I could try. I’ll at least try to try.

     

    resolution oneI will buy a yardstick.

    Maybe for you it isn’t a yardstick; maybe it’s a stapler, nail file, green pen, or extra glue sticks. Everyone has that one item that would cost only a little, but you just don’t or won’t buy one. I buy books and gadgets out-of-pocket all the time, so it's not the money. It's just that whenever I am in a store where a yardstick is available, it escapes my mind that I need to purchase this one item. Also, when I need a yardstick I know where fellow teacher Mrs. Winberg keeps hers. Even my students know where she keeps it, since we borrow it all the time! This year, I will make that $2 commitment.

     

    2016 resolutionsHappy New Year!

    I resolve to push a little harder, give a little more, connect a little deeper, and get there just a little earlier. Don’t we all? Each year we start refreshed and new. We set the bar somewhere near impossible — for ourselves and our students. Despite our faults, the kids tend to do just fine, some even knock it out of the park. This year, as always, I will try to give more than my best and hope that’s good enough. I’ll also try to save some of my best self for home and not work every Saturday. I’ll try to remember that it’s OK if I take that sick day when it’s needed. I’ll remember that being “just” a teacher and making a difference in a kid's life is more important than any other resolution. And I’ll remember why I love this job.

    What resolutions, silly or serious, do you plan this year?

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