Every teacher goes into a new school year hoping for a great year. I always think that I want it to be the “best year yet” and I make promises to myself so that I can be a better teacher – they very rarely come true. In the madness of marking, special events and daily teacher life, I forget all those things I wanted to do better and I end up in survival mode. This year I thought I’d write them down – so that I can hold myself accountable.
The phone calls that you make to parents about GOOD things, hardly ever happen. Often, the first time you’re speaking to a parent is when their child has done something wrong. I want to start calling parents about the good things – so that they don’t have a feeling of dread when the school number shows up on their phones. This builds your relationship with parents on a positive foundation, and maybe your students will start wanting you to talk to their families.
Shout Outs to Other Teachers
I would not be able to survive without my teacher friends, and I don’t tell them often enough. This year I want to start showing them some love – kind words, thank you cards or a coffee can make someone’s day. I also want them to be proud of the things they’re doing and to know that they’re amazing.
Marking – a Little Every Day
I often leave marking until I have enough time to do it all – which leads to piles on my desk and mass returns of work, later than I would have liked. Good feedback needs to happen right away, not weeks after your students have forgotten about an assignment. I want to a) make my students do more peer and self evaluation and b) spend a few minutes on marking over days, instead of hours on sunday until my brain melts.
Toot My Own Horn
I’m proud of the work I do as a teacher, and I know I do cool and interesting stuff in my classroom. I am not good at showing it to others or to administration. I want to try to share what I’m doing this year. It could be through casual invites into the room, collaborating with other classes or putting myself or students forward for recognition.
Leave Work at School
I am so guilty of lugging work too and from home and of spending evenings and weekends on planning or marking. I want to try to manage my time at school better – use my planning times and the moments before and after school to get things done. I’m hopeful that I’ll then be able to go home and enjoy some down time.
Go Pee When I Have the Chance
Most teachers have bladders of steel that have perfect timing. Some days, I’m very good at going when I have time, whether or not I ‘need’ to go. Other days, the final bell rings and I basically sprint to the bathroom because I haven’t gone all day. This year – I hope to use my few minutes at recess or lunch.
Give Kids a Voice
Students, especially Middle School students need to feel heard. They’re on the brink of being their own people – with their own opinions and ideas. When I was in middle school for the first time, Morgan suggested that I should get the kids to help decide on routines and how the classroom would look and run. Best. Advice. Ever. My kids were so much more likely to follow the things they had suggested and it made my life so much easier. I want to do more of it this year.