It's the first day of a brand new year. A brand new school year. And, I figured I should start out this brand new school year the same way I start off a brand new calendar year... by making some new year resolutions.
Maybe, just maybe I can do a better job of actually keeping these resolutions.
1. No Stress!
I love my job. It's the job I've wanted my whole life. But, sometimes I let the stresses of the job bring me down. This year, I vow to not let that happen. I want to go with the flow more and just let it go. I've made it through two years, and the kids have all come out just fine. I just have to give myself more credit for getting the job done, and let everything work itself out.
2. Acclimate to the Changes Like a Boss!
Every school year, there are always changes. Changes to schedules, changes to procedures, changes to expectations. And, it usually freaks me out a little. I mean, change doesn't really bother me, it can just sometimes overwhelm me. I start the year off with an idea about how I want my school year to go, and then I'm met with a bunch of changes that can put a kink in all those plans. This year, to go with less stress, I also plan on going with the flow of the changes. I'll try and mesh my plans with the new changes and figure it all out. Whatever happens, I got this!
3. Be More Positive.
Wow, I'm sensing a theme here...one that I definitely need to work on this year. HA! But, seriously, I am going to be a lot more positive this year. I don't like to be a negative person. I don't like to whine or complain. Last year, I did WAY too much of that...and it's NOT happening again this year. I have found myself saying that I had a pretty tough class last year, but I should be embracing tough classes. I should be using those situations to turn kids around, make a difference, focusing on how to make an impact. If I just complain, I get nowhere. So, this year...GREAT things are going to happen. I'm positive about that!
4. Be More Organized.
I spent the last few days of school, last year, in a tizzy because I had so much stuff laying all over the place that I didn't know what to do with. Piles of papers, binders stuffed with papers I had some kind of plan of one time arranging in to something, ideas coming out the wazoo that sat untouched. This year, I want to be on top of things. Keep my room organized. Keep my plans. If I say I'm going to do something, then I should do it. My goal is to end this school year by being able to walk out the door with everyone else, and not spend so much time wondering what to do with all the crap I've accumulated. I'm also going to try and work on a system to decrease paper usage. I hate having to deal with so many papers!
5. Take a Few Risks and Try Some New Ideas
This one is tough and easy for me all at the same time. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of teaching from a text book... well, teaching JUST from a text book. I have spent the past few years coming up with units of study that I've been dying to do...novel studies, thematic units, research projects. I've dabbled with a few here and there, but never really threw myself in to them because I didn't want to upset the apple cart of doing stuff totally different than what my team is doing. I have done a few things different when it came to my reading curriculum, but I still felt guilty for not wanting to do what the rest of my team was doing. This year, I'm just going to do it. I've spent a lot of time sorting and organizing stuff into units, and I should make use of that stuff. I know that units can be done, and work very well... I've seen it with my own eyes. I need to understand that just because I don't teach using the same materials as my team doesn't mean I'm doing something wrong. The same can be said for my team. They know what they're doing, and they do a fantastic job of doing it. But, just because it works so well for them doesn't mean it's the only way to do it, or that what I want to do is wrong. This year, I'm going to really dive in to my units and see how they come out. It means taking some risks, possibly making a few mistakes... but just like my kids will learn from their mistakes, so will I.
6. Have Fun.
My first year teaching was a fun year. I had a LOT of fun. My kiddos and I were constantly laughing, celebrating our successes, and achieving great things in the process. That year, I had some really low students that made PHENOMENAL gains. Last year, I just didn't have as much fun. I was more focused on doing my job, and doing it "right". I let stuff like test scores and expectations take over, which took a lot of the fun out of my teaching. My test results this year did not show the gains I had been expecting. That's not happening this year. I am going back to having fun...enjoying what I do, and making sure the kids are enjoying what they do. I am a firm believer that kids need to enjoy what they're doing to really remember and soak up what they're learning. They like to have some choice, they like to be rewarded for their hard work, and kids really do enjoy having high expectations and when given the right motivation will reach those expectations. My kiddos this year are going to LOVE their 4th grade experience. I want them talking about it for the rest of their lives. In order to make that happen, I have to put the fun back in to my teaching. Be goofy, laugh, make jokes, and let them teach me as much as I'm teaching them.
7. Embrace More Technology.
I'm a techno geek. I LOVE using technology in my classroom. Kids LOVE using technology. My kids, last year, loved having their own blogs, and constantly complained that we didn't spend near enough time using the blogs as they'd like. I have websites that have phenomenal learning games on them, that even track progress. Yet, I often get so caught up in the idea that all work needs to be done with pencil and paper, that I often let our technology time fall to the wayside in order to finish up a worksheet that needed to be completed. This year, I'm not doing that. This year, I'm embracing the technology. If my kids write more on a blog than they do in their journals, then they should be blogging. If kids are learning their multiplication facts on a computer game better than writing out their facts, they should be playing the games. If I have less paper laying around my room waiting to be graded because a computer program will give the kids an assignment and grade it for me, then why the heck aren't I using it more? Those are the changes coming this year. I have 4 student computers in my room, this year, and I plan on making full use of them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And, when I can, my kiddos and I will be in the lab making use of those computers, too. If I want to be a speaker for technology in my district, then I dang well better be using it myself.
8. BE HAPPY.
Last, but definitely not least, this year I'm going to be happy. I'm going to enjoy myself, let the good times roll, and be the teacher I know I can be. I will love my little darlings with everything I have, and make sure this is the best year they've had in school thus far...if not for the rest of their school careers. I have the absolute best job in the world, and I can show that by showing my kiddos how great my job is. I get to inspire, motivate, encourage, and facilitate every single day. I want my kids looking to me whenever they need something, whenever they are faced with challenges, and know that I'll be there for them. That I'll always have a smile on my face, and that life is good. For some of my kids, the time they spend with me is the most love they'll receive all year. I need to make sure I make every moment count. I only get 9 short months with these little people, and I need to make the most of it. And in order to do that, I need to be HAPPY ALL THE TIME.
That's it. My new year resolutions. I'm so excited to get this new school year rolling.
Let's do this!!