We may already be a few days into the New Year, but it’s not too late to make resolutions to improve your life as a teacher
2018 was a crazy year. We experienced turmoil in just about every aspect of our lives. Whether it be social media controversies, celebrity deaths or Brexit bickering, most of us were glad to see the back of 2018. This year looks set to be a chaotic one too, but that doesn’t mean our lives as teachers have to be.
Let’s begin 2019 on a high and make sure this year is more positive and productive than the last. If we create resolutions that are easier to stick to than going to the gym at 5am and will have a greater impact on our well being, 2019 has the potential to be the best yet.
Life as a teacher can be tough at the best of times, and the bleak midwinter months of January and February don’t make it any easier especially with exam season and the end of the school year looming. But fear not. From lesson plans to work-life balance, here are some resolutions for 2019 that will make our lives as school teachers more inspirational.
1. Work smarter
Often, we are told that the harder we work, the more success we will have. But in almost every profession — teaching included — success isn’t about overexertion, it’s about making the best use of the time at hand. Which as a teacher is, as we know, limited.
The new year is the best time to sit down and consider what’s worked in previous school terms, and what hasn’t. Teaching methods not working? Maybe it’s time to try some new ones. How about finding new processes for marking books? Embracing technology? Whatever you do in 2019, make sure that aligns with your resolution to work smarter in 2019.
2. Try out new classroom techniques
No matter if you’re the most experienced teacher in your school, or you’re a SEN specialist just starting out, the new year is a great time to try out some new classroom techniques. Whether you learn from young talent, or you pick up the best teaching techniques from the masters, new techniques can not only motivate students, they encourage you to think in new and often exciting ways about teaching.
It might also be worthwhile considering the methods of maverick teachers. They may be controversial, but some of the best techniques come from those willing to push the boundaries of the profession. Likewise, learning from effective school systems across the globe — check out our guide to the best, Finland, here — can spice up your classroom activities.
Wherever you find your inspiration, 2019 has the potential to be the one where you really nail your classroom techniques.
3. Make your 2019 classroom a more positive one
Of course, a classroom is not all about lesson plans. We’re becoming increasingly aware that a positive classroom environment can have a positive effect on student and teacher mental health. For this reason, make 2019 the year when you make your classroom environment not only conducive for learning, but for mental health too.
Trying to be positive can be difficult, especially during the bleak winter weather. But coming off the back of a long Christmas break, you’re fresh and ready to think positive. January is the best time prepare for the long road to summer in order for it to be more positive than the previous term. Not always easy, we know, but do some research online, or learn from the masters in your school and you should be well set.
4. Take care of your work-life balance
With so much pressure on you to deliver effective lesson plans, positive classroom environments and ultimately achieve great exam results, your work-life balance can often get lost amongst the chaos.
Though it can be difficult, it’s important that as much as possible, you leave your work at school so that it doesn’t interfere with your own personal time. After all, the more leisure time you have, the fresher you’ll be — which will, in turn, allow you to be better prepared to teach on a Monday morning.
5. Consider your career goals
One thing that can get laid by the wayside in a teacher's life is career goals. Teaching is a difficult profession, especially as progression is much more stilted and less naturally occurring as the private sector. But that doesn’t mean that you should lose sight of your ultimate goals.
Whether you need to add professional development courses in your spare time, offer to take on new responsibilities, or start to search for a new role in a new school, make 2019 the year when you fulfill your potential, driving towards long-term career success.