Happy New Year everyone!!
I am just now getting back into the swing of things from our New Mexico trip this Christmas. It was so nice and refreshing to get away from it all, even if it was just for a few days. My family and I also found out that we are not the best skiers and more than likely will stay in the hot Texas sun a little longer before attempting to do that again!!
So, I wanted to start off the year with something that people normally laugh about....that's right, resolutions. Every year millions of people start the year off with great intentions to name resolutions...and they never follow through with them.
This year, after going through a lot with COVID, I thought this year I would focus my resolutions on my career.
Here is my Top 5 New Year's Teacher resolutions:
Resolution #1: Declutter your mental and physical junk.
If you are like me, I have moved classrooms and schools a few times over the last few years. You pack up all of your things, move into your new classroom, and then are bombarded with a closet full of junk left over from the teacher before you. Instead of just going through it, you just add your own junk to the closet and close the door.
Now, the harder thing to talk about...the mental junk stuck in your head that makes it hard to do your job. While in quarantine, I started to realize how often my head was full of ideas and lessons that I wanted to do, but would soon forget the next day. Then I would put in all of the dates and meetings I needed to remember.
So now what? Resolve to open that closet up and clean out the crap you've been carrying around and haven't used all year!! That doesn't mean buying more to replace all of that junk you just trashed either.
When it comes to the mental junk...I bought a notebook and carry it with me so I can write it down. They also have apps on your phone where you can do that, but I'm old fashioned and like to physically write it down. What a HUGE difference it made! I can now go to sleep without a million things going on.
Resolution #2: Learn one new piece of technology
Even if you are already proficient in technology...it changes every day. Fifteen years ago I started doing something called Facebook and I had no idea it would grow into what it is today. Now...Facebook is considered the "old person" technology and newer apps have become more popular. I still refuse to use Snapchat!!
I have really been focusing on learning how to use Screencastify lately and I think my resolution for technology is to learn how to use more of the features in this extension and maybe try editing YouTube videos for my new channel.
Try and think of some technology that you have been wanting to learn how to use and make a resolution to figure it out this year.
Resolution #3: Attend one event with students
Teaching is not a 9-5 job even if we want it to be. There have been days where I have wanted to leave fifteen minutes early to just sit in my car before heading home, but then I would be behind in grading and prepping for the next few days.
The last thing on your mind is attending a basketball game or choir performance when you've spent more time with your students then your own family...
However, showing up for your student's events outside of you classroom is SO IMPORTANT. I can not emphasize the importance of building SOLID relationships with your students and showing up to one their events is crucial to that.
I can not tell you how many baseball games, dance recitals, and FFA shows I have gone to over the past fifteen years of teaching....but they were so worth it. To see the excitement on their faces when I walk in and cheer them on...priceless.
Plus, you may be other person there shouting their names at the top of your lungs. They will remember that.
TIP: Find a game or recital where more than one of your students will be there to get as many of them in as you can. Be loud and proud for your students!!
Resolution #4: Further YOUR Education
Your students stop learning when you stop learning. It's that simple.
There are so many online workshops teachers can attend to help further their careers. I know of at least three virtual conferences I plan on attending this summer. A lot of the more pricier conferences I wanted to attend are cheaper because it is virtual, so I know that I will be going to a few of those too. i wish COVID was gone so I could travel in-person for these awesome conferences!!
Long gone are the teachers who are just happy with getting a bachelors and then not learn anything new. A lot has happened since 2006 when I graduated in college and I am so glad that I went back for my Masters degree. Currently, I'm working on my PhD, but I know that's not for everyone. If you've been thinking about going back to school...now may be the year you do!!
Resolution #5: Love Yourself
The most important thing I got out of COVID this past year has been self-care. When I picked up my family and moved a few years ago, I developed stress-induced psoriasis. My hands would break out into a flaky texture and have open wounds that would hurt so bad. When I was away from my classroom, my hands started clearing up and I've only had a few outbreaks since then.
So, what was I doing differently?
I started to get a massage once a month to just calm me down. I also started reading for enjoyment again!
Whether you like to go shopping, binge on Netflix, or fishing....make it a resolution to do more of what you love outside of your job.
Comment with your Teacher Resolutions Below!!
Laura Gokey is the owner of The Learning Tree and is working towards her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Regent University. She currently lives in Livingston, TX with her husband of fourteen years and her two children.