Another new year has begun and, like the students in your class, you’re probably thinking about how you can make this year better than last year. Perhaps you’d like to be more organized, have more contact with parents, step outside your comfort zone or just change up your activities. We’ve put together some ideas on how to make this year the best one yet.
1. Make a list of your resolutions and review them often.
It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of the academic year and your resolutions easily get put aside. Make a list of what you would like to change and WHY you want to change it. Put your list somewhere that you can see it often as a constant reminder, then review what you have done on a monthly basis as well as what you can do to keep up the great work.
2. Remember, everyone has a fresh start in September.
Were you a little too lenient last year? Were you a little disorganized? The great part about a new year is that you get to start over again. Describe the kind of teacher you want to be this year and what actions you will take to be this type of teacher for the whole year. On the flip side, students can change too. Although you may know a student from teaching them in the past or from what other teachers have told you, keep an open mind and give each student a clean slate at the beginning of the year.
3. Reach out to parents on a consistent basis.
Find out the best way to reach out to parents by sending a survey home or by calling each parent and speaking to them personally. If you make an effort to reach out to five parents each day, whether it be a quick email, a message on Facebook, Edmodo or Schoolology, a text or a quick voicemail, parents will appreciate the personal attention and will be more apt to get involved when needed. It doesn’t have to be a long message either; just a quick note to report a strength and an area that you are currently working on with the student will suffice if done on a regular basis.
Many teachers run to the internet when they have a question, forgetting that there are people right next to them who you can ask for help. If you’re on the shy side, create a space in the common room or staff room where you can write your question on a post-it note anonymously and have other teachers answer by writing responses and attaching them to your question.
5. Be a team builder inside and outside of class.
The only way to create a positive classroom atmosphere is to facilitate this from the beginning and including some exercises on a regular basis. Depending on the grade level you are teaching, your students may or may not be keen participants. Try different exercises and be consistent… you will soon see results. In the same way, try to apply this to the staff room as well. Build a team of staff members who would like to participate in regular team building exercises and have everyone write an idea on a board or a piece of paper that can be drawn for each activity. A happy staff room leads to a happy school, which ultimately leads to happy students.