New School Year’s Resolutions
Setting New Year’s resolutions for the first of January is widely accepted as the norm, whether or not we stick to them. But for teachers, ‘New Year’ comes around not once, but twice a year. September is often a time for change and doing something new: be it a new year group, or a new role or even just the change of children’s faces in the same classroom you have been in for many years.
Setting yourself clear, achievable goals can help to reduce the pressures and stresses of the classroom, in turn improving your wellbeing. As I teacher, I became stuck in the rut of setting the same, vague and unattainable goals every year which lead to almost instant failure. Keep them short and specific and you’ll feel great once you have achieved them!
Here are some of our suggestions to help you feel inspired:
- Plan what your ideal week outside of work should look like
We all know teaching is not a 9-5 profession, but as teachers, sometimes our own personal lives and wellbeing take a hit by the amount of work we bring home. By planning a loose timetable for what your week at home should look like, you can make informed decisions about your workload. Ideally, I’m sure we’d all love home to be top priority 100% of the time but this is sometimes very difficult. It’s all about finding a balance.
- Share the workload
Are you completing all of the tasks in your classroom? Could you delegate them to anyone else? Using classroom assistants and even the children effectively means you can share some of the workload. Peer-mark more. Ask for help with displays. Work together on planning. Use good-quality resource sites like ourselves to save you time.Be honest when you are struggling to keep afloat; everyone around you is there to help. More often than not, your fellow teachers are feeling the same.
- Try something new
Particularly if we are placed in the same year group year in, year out, we can tend to stagnate and repeat the same activities over and over. This teaching year, try something new. It could be using technology more, or something as simple as mixing up what the morning routine looks like in your classroom. The one thing I loved was ClassDojo, as this helped me keep track of my children’s rewards and I could also keep an open communication channel with parents without giving out my email address. It came in particularly handy when we had bad snow, as it has a ‘wall’ you can post to where all the parents can see it. Best of all, it’s free!
- Be organised
Working smarter does not necessarily mean working harder. Try to keep on top of cleaning your desk (if you have one). Make sure all your paperwork has a place so that nothing important goes missing – clearly labelled letter trays are amazing for this. Encourage your pupils to take ownership of their part of the classroom and reward them for their organisational skills. The most useful tool for a teacher’s organisation is a high-quality planner, something that I used to spend a lot of my own money on though some are lucky to have their school provide them. Using your planner effectively can help you keep all of the information you need in one place, and if like me, you happen to need to work through an internet outage, you still have access to your data.
- Spend more time with your pupils on a one-to-one basis
This is sometimes a tricky one to find time to do, but get to know your children. Avoid spending all your time with those who need support and find time for your expected and greater depth children too. Children work harder for a teacher they feel knows them and trusts them, so put the time in to building relationships with your class. The better the children trust and respect you, the easier it becomes to form constructive relationships with their parents. Good, solid parent-teacher communication is key to helping your year run smoothly!
Most importantly, above all else: take breaks. Learn to prioritise, delegate and say no when things are too much. Eat your lunch - don’t skip it in favour of work. Take care of YOU – teaching can be the most rewarding profession on this planet, but it can also be the most emotionally draining too. It is near impossible to nurture a classful of children if you don’t first nurture yourself. This teaching year, do things too that are just for you.
Let us know in the comments if you have any suggestions for school year’s resolutions, or if you have tried anything on this list.
Happy New Year to those in education!