New Year’s Resolutions

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My husband and I are on different planes. He makes goals in December. People who aren’t teachers seem to do that; it’s like after they graduate that time morphs into something totally different. To teachers, it just feels right to make goals as the new school year begins (or in February when things flop or go stagnant, or in April when you’re eager to implement new things you’ve learned throughout the year).

New Year’s Resolutions:

Work:

  • Ask students, “What can you do?” – This is my theme for the year. I’m tired of students telling me that they can’t do anything to change the world, their situations, or the paper in the printer. It’s time for a bit of self-sufficiency. This isn’t out of anger, but of concern. There won’t always be someone there to fix things for them, so they need to know how to problem-solve.
  • Help students learn how to learn – Sometimes we get so focused on standards, that it saves time to provide all of the information students need to do a project, along with the specific instructions and expectations, and we tell them what is important and why. We’re spoon feeding (and taking all of the fun out of it). Would you go to {insert name of whatever restaurant makes you salivate here} and let them serve you whatever they wanted, tell you it’s because the ingredients were about to expire, and explain that the cheesecake will cause exactly 14 saturated fat grams to go directly to your thighs? I think not.
  • Incorporate more PBL and Tech to achieve greater differentiation – I argue against spoon feeding students, but I also think that we need to meet them where they are. Just because I like the smell of new paper doesn’t mean they do. They are digital natives, technology isn’t going away, and they need to know how to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. They should be acclimated to that now, not when it’s a do or die situation. Problem/Project Based Learning begins with the end in mind. The students have a real-world problem to solve or a project to complete. How will they get there? It’s up to them (more on this later).
  • Paperless – My desk is always crazy, and it’s because I never file (my email inbox would be the thickness of a phone book if I printed it). I can also never remember where I lay things down. Does anyone else have an unreasonable fear that someday all technologies will crash and everything will go back to pen and paper? No? I print everything I think I need for later with the intention of sticking it in a binder, and I’m worried that I’m going to end up on an episode of Hoarders: Classroom Catastrophes.
  • Meet affective needs – More attention needs to be paid to my gifted students’ emotional needs. I need to schedule more time for it because junior high is tough. Remember?

Personal:

  • Family – My kids are three and one, and my husband likes to think he is charming. Any amount of satisfaction that comes from student success can’t top time with them. I need to unplug from work more.
  • Health – I want to live for a really long time, and my kids need for me to set a good example. I need to change some habits while they’re young enough that they won’t remember my Andy’s cravings (frozen custardy awesomeness).
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