For Administrators

Teachers: 5 New Year's Resolutions You Can Keep

By Brian Gatens December 19, 2013

Ah, New Year’s resolutions — promises made with great enthusiasm that (more often than not) fade away to nothing by the start of February. Well, what are some good resolutions for teachers and how can you make them stick? Give these a try:

Keep trying to get better

Brian P. Gatens offers five tips for New Year's resolutions teachers can keepEducation never stops evolving. As soon as it appears that we have a strong handle on a specific curriculum item or teaching strategy, we find that we have to rethink our approach to better serve our students.

A great resolution is to work on staying continually open to the changes that come our way, and being not only open, but also enthusiastic no matter how difficult they may be.

Be happy

Yeah, sounds easy and trite, but seriously, work on being a happier person. And I mean this if you already consider yourself pleasant to be around. Now, here’s the trick: you don’t have to choose to be happy. Rather, you need to take positive action that leads to you having a more positive view of the world.

Perhaps choose to avoid negative people, work on getting more sleep or even eat better. The nice thing about this resolution is that once you begin to feel the benefits of it, you’re more likely to keep on going.

Get smarter

Of course you’re already pretty smart if you’re reading this blog, right? That being understood, make it a point to read articles that broaden and develop your worldview. I’m a firm believer that the world is developing much faster than Americans realize, and having a broad understanding of local and international news will only help you to be a more informed and participatory person.

And don’t hesitate to share this with your students.

Be supportive

This one is easy too; all you have to do is show up. All schools have after-school or extracurricular activities. Set a goal of taking one or two days a week and pay a visit to these events. Head over there and cheer on the students taking part or show up just to applaud for them.

It’s been said that many children suffer from “emotional poverty.” You can stop that with a kind word or gesture.

Look outside

If you’re not careful, your work can consume you. Taking care of children appeals to the best parts of our nature and if you’re a dedicated and empathetic teacher (and I hope you are) I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re focused on your students 24/7.

A good resolution, and one that I need to remind myself of, is to make it a point to take time for yourself. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t spend time at home doing research or planning your next class activity. Be as firm in scheduling your downtime as you are with other aspects of your responsibilities.

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