New (Academic) Year’s Resolutions

Forget the 1st January, the key date for setting New Year’s resolutions is the 1st September

“The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
Nolan Bushnell

Although traditionally New Year’s Day is the key date for promises of self-improvement and kicking bad habits, for many teachers it’s this period right now, the start of the academic year, that is the time to reflect on changes they want (or need) to make in their lives.

Forgive me for misinterpreting part of the principal’s speech to staff on our return to work after the summer break, where we were advised to: “Remember how you felt in July”. I believe the message being that right now, at the start of the new teaching cycle, we should be reflecting on our students’ achievements that we, as teachers, played a key role in making happen. But unfortunately all I remembered feeling in July was jaded, fatigued, burnt-out and very much in need of a break.

However, stimulated by five weeks of sunshine and freedom, and determined not to let the vivid memories of overwhelm, stress and pressure from last year’s teaching year distort my current positive state of mind, it’s much easier to set goals now than in the dark days of early January.

I won’t bore you by listing my New (Academic) Year’s Resolutions, but rest assured they follow the standard pattern of do less of this, stop doing that, do more of this, start doing that. But I will be candid about my main resolution: to change from being a dreamer to becoming a doer. Research shows that women are more likely to succeed with their New Year’s resolutions when they make their goals public. So here I am, I’m going public.

Stop dreaming. Start doing.

And although I can hear the train a comin’, it’s rollin’ round the bend*, and in its trail comes hours of lesson planning and mountains of marking, I’m determined to be one of the 12% of individuals who achieve their New Year’s resolution(s). Only time will tell.

*with thanks to my colleague, Carolyn Mayfield, for this wonderful reference to a Johnny Cash lyric when referring to the imminent arrival of the new academic year.