Monday, August 13, 2012

New Year Resolutions

In the past, I've written about how my co-workers and I tend to make our New Year's Resolutions in August - when our new year begins, rather than in January, when the calendar new year begins. This year, my goals are different than they've been in the past. I have a more clear idea of what is needed of me at home, though that may still be skewed by the fact that Syd begins preschool this year, and I know what I need of myself, or, rather, for myself. Thus, for all to see, this is what I've decided my New Year's Resolutions must be for the school year of 2012-2013...
  1. Seriously - and honestly - do not bring the work home. All it does is make me feel guilty for not touching it. It took me 7 years to get to the point where I could tell my students I would get to it when I got to it. I did what I needed as far as getting it done, whether that was taking a day off just to sit and grade or eliminating assignments that could feasibly be seen as busy work. I streamlined my grading process so I am/was more efficient. I need to reach that point sooner this year than I did last year, and I need to not feel guilty, as my home life is more important, what with family needs, Syd and school, etc.
  2. Stay on top of my students' blogs - this is the ONLY thing I allow myself to grade at home. It takes a few hours one night a week - usually while I'm watching Grimm or reruns of Monk. But I have one fewer class in this age group than I did last year, so I'm hoping I'll be more successful at staying on top of them and keeping this grade, at least, updated in my grade book.
  3. More group projects/activities that utilize more learning styles to reach all learner types. I have more students than ever before, with less time, energy, and resources with which to successfully plan, teach, grade, etc. So, instead of working harder than necessary (let's be honest, harder is necessary...) I should work smarter. This means jumping into the technology pool more than in the past and allowing collaborative efforts more than in the past. Just because they're working in pairs does not mean they're not gleaning from the assignments. I will need to alter the assignments, or how the pairs work, but I should achieve the same results if I am careful and diligent.
  4. Stay on top of the phone calls home. I let that slide last year. I am not proud of it in the least, but circumstances were against me in two cases - my planning was in the morning, which I love because it allows me to get settled for the day. But it is also too early to call parents, at times. Afternoon planning periods are usually more successful for reaching a guardian. I also had my study hall, but the collaborative teacher and I initially planned to be in the room at the same time and just leave when we needed to make copies, calls, etc. That was highly unsuccessful because I felt I had to explain every absence. I will not make that mistake again, and I chalk it up to a learning curve that will help me be more successful as a teacher.
  5. Put myself out there, technologically and instructionally speaking. I have lessons I've wanted to try - activities that have fallen to the wayside because I didn't have time to think them through, test them out, etc. Well, the students tend to respond better when I treat them as adults, so as young adults, I will explain that they are my guinea pigs and we will learn about these together. Also, I need to stretch myself technologically. I do not feel I've been stagnant. I do feel I get stressed and fall back on what I know. So, now, instead, I need to embrace it and allow the technology to work or fail in class as it will, and see for myself what can be used in the future.
I feel I'm more prepared emotionally this year (aside from the thoughts in the back of my mind about Syd starting school) and I look forward to embracing my new batch of students and my new expectations of myself as we begin the next 9 months. Here's to all who are opening a new chapter in their lives, whether it be something as minor as new students or a new life step like leaving for college. May we all learn about ourselves as much as we learn about our world.

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