Someone asked me: “What are your new year’s resolutions?”. I panicked for a moment, and answered: “I don’t know…be healthy, go to the gym, eat more vegetables, save money?” I’ve been setting new year’s resolutions since ’06 and for most of them, I’d forget by February (sometimes even sooner). But hey, I tried! I wrote the goals down on a piece of paper and stuck them on the door of my room. I recorded myself reciting the goals and listened to the recordings daily. They just didn’t stick in my mind! It took me so long to make new year’s resolutions and actually complete everything on the list. I’ve learned a lot from trial & error and now know to set realistic goals and finish them. How about you? As educators, accomplishing your goals can make huge improvements on the development of the young ones. It also inspires students to have innovative mindsets and improve themselves. Below are 10 great new year’s resolutions for teachers, hope they can provide you with inspiration to start off the year right!
Goal 1: A Positive Learning Environment
Talk about starting off the year right! Learning is an emotional process, and we feel different emotions when we’re in the classroom – excited to share our ideas, embarrassed when we’re wrong, and upset when we’re discouraged. A positive learning environment is where students feel accepted, seen, and valued for their opinions. It motivates students to learn, explore and learn to be respectful to others. You can make the classrooms a positive place by using positive language/affirmations in your daily teachings, reinforcing positive actions by rewarding students who exhibit good behaviours, and most importantly, being a positive role model for children to follow. Remember, there is always a positive way to respond to a situation!
Goal 2: Refresh the Classroom
You know what they always say: “New year, new me.” Cliché? Yes, but it’s true. Renewing the classroom is necessary to make you comfortable, increase your efficiency and boost your productivity. It also keeps students excited to see the classroom cleaned and renewed. Replace any old or broken classroom tools with new ones, organize the storage unit, get rid of any excess files or papers on your desk, and get new classroom gadgets too! Alternative seating options are some great additions to the classroom: Bouncyband for Desks, which enable kids to have an outlet for excess energy while working, alleviating anxiety, hyperactivity, and boredom, and increasing focus and performance. Bouncyband Fidget Foot Roller, which includes a roller for kids to be active while sitting, silently releases excess energy, alleviates anxiety, and increases focus.
Goal 3: Take Risks!
Taking risks in the classroom is exciting and thrilling at the same time, as your decision will affect the learning process of the students. However, it brings tremendous benefits. Taking risks helps educators overcome their own fears and create innovative solutions in their classrooms. Inspiring students to take risks will help them to raise their self-esteem, think more creatively and even when risk-taking fails, they learn to become more resilient. And risk-taking doesn’t have to be something grand like building a rocket. Like most great things, it starts with small steps. Starting a project over from scratch when plans don’t work out, having students learn to trust their classmates during group activities, encouraging and appreciating students who have forward, innovative thinking are some of the small risk-taking decisions you can make in the new year. Here’s another cliché (but true!) quote: “The biggest risk of all is not taking one!”
Goal 4: Read more books!
The joy of reading. Need I say more? Reading gives children a deep understanding of the world and receives background knowledge. It helps them make sense of what they see, and hear, which aids their cognitive development. Reading at an early age not only allow children to have better vocabulary and learn to express themselves, but it also helps children to be more empathetic, as books usually portray various characters with different perspectives. Share with students about your reading experiences: what you’ve been reading and what you’ve learned from the books. Set up book clubs, reading groups and encourage them to socialize around reading. Sometimes, it just takes one good book for students to fall in love with reading, so recommend them a good one to read! Inuit Stories Series, and Opposite Series are some cool examples. Check out the Books too!
Goal 5: Be Present for Students’ Emotional Needs
Today, the duties and responsibilities of teachers go beyond what is described in the job description. Not only do educators have to meet academic standards, prepare for assessments, and other administrative requirements, teachers must acknowledge and address students’ emotional needs. Many students who misbehave or act differently might have unknown problems. Daily situations like arguments or asking for help might seem simple to adults, but for young minds who are not developed, learning to deal with them can be difficult. Introduce children to social-emotional learning (SEL), which aims to foster social and emotional skills. Emotion-oes Domino Game, Social Scenario Activities are both fun and educational games for children to learn how to identify and manage their emotions. Let students know that their mental health is important, offer activities to do in class that are stress-reducing such as listening to calm music, and encourage kids to be more open and talk about their problems. Yoga is often mentioned as one of the most effective tools for stress management and mindfulness, so start implementing short yoga sessions in class could be a good idea! Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds Activity Set includes beautifully illustrated and simply written yoga cards that will develop breathing, balancing, focusing, calming, and more.
Goal 6: A Multicultural and Inclusive Classroom
Diversity is becoming an increasingly important topic in current times and will continue to be the main theme in our children’s development. Understanding these topics helps the kids to admire the difference in individuals, treat everyone with respect, make the classroom more inclusive, and build the necessary skill to communicate/work with different people in the future. Teaching children about diversity can start with letting kids know/explore unfamiliar cultures. Around The World Set includes 48 beautiful pieces that replicate iconic landmarks of the world such as Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Statue of Liberty, Pyramids of Giza. Hello World! Floor Puzzle includes pictures of multicultural children dressing in traditional clothing and greetings from various languages in the world.
Goal 7: It’s About Learning, Not Grades
“How do I get an A?”, “When is it due?”, “Is this chapter on the test?”. As teachers, these questions can make you upset, knowing that students care about grades rather than what they learn from the lesson. Educators want the best for their students, which is giving them useful knowledge, and inspiration to learn more. Hence, emphasizing learning over grades is important because it encourages students to be more active in what they want to learn, to control their personal educational process and goal-setting. Start using a different language in the classroom that highlights the learning process of the student rather than emphasizing the grade. When talking to the parents, talk about the student’s improvement in certain areas, instead of how low/high the grade is. Provide feedback on skills like creativity, effort, collaboration and use rubrics with simple, observable skills to allow students more room to be creative!
Goal 8: Flexible Classrooms
A flexible classroom is a space that provides students with various choices to choose how they learn, how they apply the knowledge, and how they work with others. Flexible learning environments are becoming a priority in schools because it improves learning outcome and increases teachers’ effectiveness. You can make your classroom more flexible first by reorganizing the classroom’s furniture so that there is more space for movement. Dividing the classroom into learning zones, and including boards, or writing surfaces so students can express their ideas down. Aktivity Adjustable Marker Board Table is great for students to share their ideas, and effectively promote creativity and mental engagement. A Flexible learning environment also includes a wide variety of seating options. Innovate seating gives students the freedom to where and how they want to learn. Wiggle Stool allows students to… wiggle, with an extra-thick padded seat that allows for comfortable all-day use. ErgoErgo has a bold contemporary design, so children are active while sitting. After students sit on an ErgoErgo, they won’t go back to ordinary chairs!
Goal 9: Be More Active in the Classroom
Schoolwork can be tiresome for the young ones. They want to explore, do fun stuff, and be active. Being active in the classroom improves students’ concentration, reducing behaviour such as fidgeting. Sometimes recess is not enough, not to mention in this weather, students can’t even get outside! Teachers have to get creative and give them more options to be active in the classroom. A few solutions to be active in the classroom were mentioned above – yoga, and cool seatings. Loose Parts and Arts & Crafts are great options to get the tiny hands active after hours of sitting and writing. Teachers can also make the classroom livelier by allowing more opportunities for group work and collaboration. Let students talk, and share ideas with friends. Come up with activities to get them to move around, and encourage friendly competition with games, and quizzes. Math Marks The Spot Game, Spelligator are fun games that encourage friendly competition and keep young minds active. Don’t forget to check out the Active Play options! Spring will be coming in no time!
Goal 10: Give Yourself a Medal
Children are our future – and you are positively shaping the future by taking care of them and inspiring them to develop valuable virtues such as the love for knowledge, and kindness. You’ve worked tirelessly to create a positive learning environment, and you always go the extra mile to help students make progress. In a profession where it’s required to be continuously creative, positive, inspiring, and patient, you deserve a medal every day for going to work. Take care of yourself, drink enough water, eat healthy food, exercise, and most importantly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
A good new year resolution doesn’t have to be a “great” achievement. It should be something that you enjoy doing, bring long term benefit, and of course – include a considerable amount of challenge. You should feel inspired working towards your new year resolution. Your journey to change might be rocky and full of obstacles, but like they always say, “You have to get through the rain if you’re ever going to see a rainbow”. Cliché? Yes, but it’s true!
Hope you find your New Year’s Resolutions.