Happy New year! And by that I mean, of course, "Happy New School Year!" Let's put aside the fact that the reason our school year does not match our calendar year is that it was constructed around planting and harvest back when this was still a predominantly agragrian nation, and we just haven't gotten around to updating it for a couple of centuries.
Let's face it. A new school year is way more important anyway. For most people, the difference between their lives in December and January is practically nil. For teachers and students, however, one school year can be vastly different than the previous one or the next one. For students, there is a new wardrobe, a new set of classmates, a new set of teachers ,and, if everything goes right, a whole new set of skills that have to be mastered. For teachers, even if your teaching assignment is exactly the same from year to year (lucky you!) the year is bound to be very different, based on a new set of students.
The next few weeks, before the official start of a new school year, will be busy with preparation—preparation of supplies, of the physcial space, and of yourselves. There are forms to fill out, boxes to unpack, bulletin boards to construct, and probably a lot of presentations to attend (Did I hear someone say "endure"?). I hope though, that we can all take a little time to come up with at least one or two new year's resolutions.
According to a recent article in Time magazine, the top five most commonly broken New Year's Resolutions are lose weight, get fit quit smoking, learn something new, eat healthier and diet, and finally get out of debt and save money. I don't think the list is a surprise to anybody. The list, as we might have expected, is made up of essentially two groups: stuff we promise ourselves we are going to do, and stuff we promise ourselves we will stop doing. An overarching theme might be general self-improvement, but it all breaks down to our daily actions.
I bet, if you think about it, you could come up with a list of new year's resolutions for your "teacher self" that parallels the list above. If you consider carefully, you probably have some goals for improving your classroom that can be broken down into things you could eliminate and things you could add. I would encourage every teacher to do exactly that this school year and to make it a habit every year.
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