Do you have any resolutions for the New Year? Have you written them down? Research by clinical psychologist Gail Matthews shows when you write down your goals, you are more likely to be successful.
If this theory holds true, the Concordia Online Education and Concordia Ambassadors Facebook communities are well on their way to success in the New Year. We asked both communities to post their resolutions for 2015, and five lucky respondents received a gift card.
The winning entries, selected at random:
Rhonda Peña: “As a lifelong learner, my New Year’s resolution is to continue to instill the love of learning in my fifth-grade students by being a good role model, supporting them when they may struggle, picking them up when they may fall, and celebrating with them when they triumph!”
Yolanda Ferguson: “As a lifelong learner, my New Year’s resolution is to be the best teacher I can and give my students the best education I can while they are in my care and charge.”
Stephanie Johnson: “As a lifelong learner, my New Year’s resolution is keep a daily journal of reflection and growth in my teaching. I think this will be a great way to support my own learning at CU by recording new methods or ideas I am learning while being a teacher and student!”
Shana Craig: “As a lifelong learner, my New Year’s resolution is to begin my master’s program in order to be able to continue impacting children’s lives in the classroom. While I will finish my master’s program eventually, I will never cease learning from my students.”
Kris Werner: “I’ve decided to spend less time worrying about the things I can’t change and focus on what things I can change and influence in all areas of my life.”
There were several common themes that ran through the resolutions, such as applying new teaching techniques, improving communication, managing time, obtaining a graduate degree, supporting students and staying positive. Here are some of our favorites from the nearly 200 submissions.
Apply new teaching techniques
Many students resolved to stay updated on new teaching techniques and to apply them to their classrooms. Whether this was branching out into new areas of teaching or simply trying new engagement practices, teachers want to keep students on their toes.
Lynn Marie said she wanted to differentiate instruction by incorporating all learning styles into her instruction. Kathi Barner and Lena Menning plan to incorporate more technology in their classrooms. And Yolanda Ferguson vows to institute a flipped classroom model with her students.
Lauren Bowman: “My New Year’s resolution is to finish curriculum for a blended online/traditional ukulele class for my school district, and to try to use more technology in my music classes.”
Emily Kean: “My New Year’s resolution is to provide more hands-on learning opportunities for my students and continue to engage them.”
Barb Van Gelder Hansen: “Continue to use what I learned during my master’s education to strengthen and enhance my teaching each day!”
Another segment of teachers wished to stay connected to students, parents, and peers this year. This included providing more feedback, sharing success stories with other teachers and paying attention to their students’ requests and educational desires.
Christine Verran Majka specifically wants to find ways to increase parent involvement in her pre-K classroom. And Mindy Mooc promises to improve her communication style with her 15-year-old son.
Esther Yasuda: “My New Year’s resolution is to listen to my students’ needs, find a way to assist them and follow up with them to see how they are doing. Showing genuine care and compassion along with empathy towards whatever situation they may be facing, especially during the holidays, is extremely important.”
Terri Tolerico Pruitt: “My resolution is to write a handwritten note each week to one student sharing my reflections on what I admire or enjoy about them as students and people.”
Some teachers resolved to better manage their time in 2015. Ideas ranged from keeping an education-specific journal to a more detailed documenting of time management. Sarah Andrews will finish her required reading by Sunday in order to have more time during the week. Rana Dysart will segment her time better and have more patience with her children. And Arion Mills vows to turn in homework on time.
Alice Bessonett: “I have made a New Year’s resolution to help myself with time management so that I can be a positive role model for my students.”
Rebekah Dodson: “To manage my time more efficiently between writing novels, teaching, working on my Ph.D., and spending time with family. Oh, and a trip to Disneyland for spring break to unwind!”
Obtain a graduate degree
Most respondents expressed the wish to obtain a master’s degree in Education in hopes of advancing their career and achieving their lifelong goals. A few students, such as DeAnna Sandow Randheim and Kim Odinga, expressed their desire to start working on their doctorate in the new year.
Sharyn Nette Guiont-Conley: As a lifelong learner, my New Year’s resolution is to continue my education by enrolling in the M.Ed. program in January 2015.
Onidia Martinez: “My resolution is to continue studying and being able to graduate from Concordia University – Portland by December 2015!”
DeAnna Sandow Ranheim: “… to begin my doctorate degree! I loved working with Concordia for my M.Ed. and hoping to continue with them in about a year!”
While all of the ambassadors mentioned resolutions that directly or indirectly supported their students, some had specific ideas on how to show students that they care in the coming year.
Kristi Fausel is going to set aside time to attend her students’ sporting events. Meredith Royer plans to have more unscheduled play time in her classes. And Marcelino Soliz wants to focus on his students’ needs and turn a deaf ear to school politics in 2015.
Katie Thompson: “My resolution is to continue to be the light of hope for my students who don’t get it anywhere else. I will continue to foster a safe environment in my classroom where all learners can come together and grow with each other.”
Kyle Klemp: “To instill in my students a love for learning!”
Mercedes Valentin: “My New Year’s resolution will be to continue to treat each child as I would like my own children treated. To show them that I love and treasure every single one of them and teach them that curiosity is the key to wonderful learning!!”
Many of the teachers had ideas on how to maintain perspective and stay positive in 2015.
Steve Box vows to focus more on what’s important and less on what’s trivial. Kaytlyn Grant is going to write down one positive memory each day and store them in a jar. By this time next year, she’ll have a year’s full of positive moments and memories to draw upon.
Rick Austin will keep a notebook to record every time one of his Special Education students has an “a ha” moment.
Briana Perales: “My New Year’s resolution is to worry less and to always look at the positive side of ANY situation!”
Kelly Wilcox: “My New Year’s resolution is to focus on the lives I have in my hands and to help form them into the people they are meant to be! Let the little things go, and focus on the big picture!”
Jessica Bouscher: “My New Year’s resolution is that I need to take every day with a grain of salt. I will look at each morning as a new beginning and come to work ready for success and leave behind any negative moments from the day prior. Thinking positive and enjoying every moment.”
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- Gail Matthews, Ph.D., "Goals Research Summary," Dominican University of California