5 New Year’s Resolutions for Teachers
A Guest Post by Erin Whalen
At this time of year, resolutions are a topic of conversation almost everywhere you go. Here are five recommendations of worthwhile resolutions for teachers. Whether you choose one or choose them all, be realistic and take on a goal or goals that you can commit to and stick with throughout the year. Have a great 2019!
5. Student-Centered Classroom
“The person doing the work is the person doing the learning.” -Alice Keeler
If you are still doing most of the talking in your classroom, focus on letting the students talk more this year. Learning is a social activity. Give students time to discuss, ponder, process, and reflect out loud. You will have more engaged students AND will increase the likelihood of long term retention of the material.
4. New Tech Tool
Try out one new tech tool. Choose something you have heard about but haven’t used yet and give it a try. Ask other teachers how they are using it. Search for its name or hashtag on Twitter to get ideas and support. Let students take the lead and try it out. And if it doesn’t work right away, don’t give up. Allow yourself time to learn it, use the resources you have at your fingertips (hint – the internet!), and stick with it for a while. Not every tech tool is going to work for everyone, but work on it long enough that if you decide against it, it’s because it’s not the best tool for your students and not because you got frustrated and quit trying.
3. Stop Giving Homework
There are countless reasons why homework is an outdated practice that needs to be ditched. Equity, family time, avoiding mental overload, encouraging proper sleep, and on and on. Let’s just talk about one. Equity. Think about your students’ home lives. Many of them go home to an environment where they can study in peace. Some of them go home to chaos. Many of them have internet access at home. Some don’t. Many have a healthy dinner. Some can’t focus their minds on chemistry when their body is focused on its hunger. In the classroom, the playing field is leveled.
Why not let them do their work at school where they have access to the resources they need, the most important of which is YOU, their highly qualified teacher?
2. Have Fun
Don’t underestimate the power of fun. Students spend much of their childhood in school. How do you want them to remember it? Besides creating good memories, fun helps create memories. When students enjoy the learning process they are far more likely to remember what they learned. Creating a sense of fun is not just good for relationships, it’s also good for learning!
1. Take Care of Yourself
We hear this over and over but it’s true. Teaching is stressful. If you want to continue being a great teacher for many years to come, you have to take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep. Drink lots of water. Don’t skip the trip to the gym. Taking care of yourself is critically important for you and your students. (And if you stop giving homework to your students, you’ll have less homework, too, which means more time for you. Bonus!)
Cheers to a fabulous 2019!