We do it every year. By the month of June before the current school year even ends, we begin to tell ourselves how we will do many things differently in the upcoming school year. Just like the start of the new calendar year, many teachers go through a process of soul searching and then begin to make a laundry list of new school year resolutions. Does that sound familiar? Are you guilty of it? It’s all too familiar to me and I sure am guilty as charged. We begin to say what we will do and how much more we plan to achieve before we have even met our new students.
There are those of us who even agonise all summer long when we should be resting and relaxing. We take out our planning books and we look back at all the things we should have done differently. There is nothing wrong with good self-reflection and self-evaluation; however, this becomes an issue if it takes up the majority of our summer break.
The school year starts and we are full of zeal and resolve to keep all of our new school year resolutions. Some of us even write them out and make a wall chart. I know it may sound as if I am not a fan of resolutions but that is not the case. I have done it every year; some years I have succeeded in keeping a few, while there has been other years when I have failed miserably. After many trials and errors I have come up with what I believe are the top 5 tips for keeping new school year resolutions.
Make it something you really want your students to achieve
Limit your list to a number you can handle
To be effective, resolutions and goals need to be pretty specific. Write them as if you are writing lesson objectives with clearly thought out steps on how they will be achieved.
Make them something that you can do a little of every day that over time they become something you do automatically.
Make a plan
Rather than stating one daunting goal, create a series of smaller steps that culminate into the overall goal. Have an action plan. Figure out exactly what you want to do and then do it. It may sound easy but it takes consistency and hard work.
If you need immediate rewards to keep you motivated, here’s a suggestion. Ask yourself: ‘What are the short- term rewards?’ Plan incentives for yourself and your students. When you reach a milestone or achieve a goal, reward yourself and your students, for example, if you want your students to read more, when the whole class has finished their first book, give them and yourself some “golden time” (a period of time given during a lesson where students are able to do a fun activity of their choosing).
Resolutions are not always easy to make or keep, but I hope following these tips will help to make the process easier. Have a great school year!
By Leisa Simapili