Originally written as a guest post for Playful Bee.
Most of the teachers I know follow a different annual calendar than the rest of the world. While most people hit their restart button on January 1st every year, fresh starts and new beginnings for educators are reserved for the first day of school. Much like the official New Year, the new school year offers endless opportunities for teachers to make resolutions. Of course, there are the traditional resolutions – eat more vegetables, don’t leave report cards to the last minute, avoid the sugary treats in the staffroom – but many teachers also tend to make a secret set of resolutions for the school year ahead.
I had the opportunity to catch up with some of my colleagues who were kind enough to share their school year’s resolutions with me, and it was inspiring to learn about the goals that they make for themselves and their students on the cusp of the new school year. These goals influence so many aspects of their teaching practices; from the professional development they take part in, to their unit planning, to their classroom setup. Here is an inside peek at a few school year’s resolutions that my colleagues shared with me:
“Last year was tough for me on a political front, so this school year is really about avoiding the politics that destroy my joy in the job and focusing on the natural positivity of the kids.” Miriam M.G., teaching Special Education.
“I would like to further learn about and utilize the inquiry approach in math.” Earl G., teaching a grade 1/2 split class.
“My resolution this year is to remember that it’s not always about the marks, and that the priority for many high needs students is to develop the life skills that will better equip them to advocate for themselves and help build a strong community.” Sarah E.H., teaching a grade 9-12 ‘Caring and Safe Schools’ program.
“My goal is for increased reflection with a focus on gratitude. We often forget to acknowledge and celebrate all of the wonderful things that we are doing in and out of the classroom, and modeling that positivity and graciousness will help the students in the long run.” Crystal S., principal of an independent school.
“My school year resolution is to incorporate more technology, and specifically to learn how to use an app for Full Day Kindergarten documentation and assessments to create individual portfolios for each child.” Ashley C., teaching Full Day Kindergarten.
“My goal for this year is to really improve my communication with parents.” Emily M., teaching multiple grades and subjects.
“One of my main goals this year is to create a better professional development experience for teachers. It’s a shame that PD often follows the “sit and get” model that we know isn’t effective. I look forward to stirring things up and (hopefully) inspiring some teachers to do the same.” Allison W., Customer Success Manager, Hapara.
After I spoke with these teachers, it became apparent that their resolutions all have an underlying mission to help improve learning and education in some way, whether it is to help special education students find confidence, help improve an overall school climate through focusing on gratitude and the positivity that children bring into our lives, help parents feel more informed and included in their child’s education, or help other teachers benefit from quality PD. Even when a teacher’s resolution focused on self-improvement, such as integrating technology or inquiry learning into their teaching methods, the motivation behind these resolutions was for their self-improvement to ultimately help their students.
I have always believed that teachers are an incredibly rare and special type of people, and this belief has only been strengthened after taking part in this project. Listening to these teachers talk about their school year’s resolutions with so much renewed determination, optimism and genuine care for their students should give any parent confidence that when they send their child off to start the new school year this week, they are in very good hands. And as for my own school year resolution? I will be out of the classroom for most of this year and staying home to take care of my new baby girl, so my resolution is to find as many ways as possible to stay involved in education, such as through amazing collaborative projects like this article!