Set Your New Year’s Resolution for Teaching
What’s Your Focus for 2019?
As we enter the second half of the academic year and begin a new calendar year, it’s the perfect time to set a professional goal for 2019. There are a variety of approaches to take in setting a new year’s resolution for teaching — you might set a concrete, measurable goal in relation to student outcomes, or perhaps your goal is more closely related to your own relationship to your profession, such as practicing mindfulness or increasing your dedication to self-care. Educator and guest blogger Stacey Roshan sets her resolution by narrowing her goals down to a single word. Whatever your approach, we wanted to provide some specific spaces we think would be good areas of focus for any educator’s new year’s resolutions, to help inspire your goal-setting mission:
Empower Every Student
Educational equity is an excellent place to place your energies in the new year. While true equity requires large-scale institutional changes that a single educator can’t accomplish alone, you can always strive to make a difference in your own classroom or learning community. Set out to serve as a strong voice for digital equity initiatives by collaborating with district leadership to evaluate your school’s approach to digital teaching and learning, or strive for inclusivity in your own classroom by implementing culturally responsive teaching practices. For more on educational equity, see:
Resources, Ideas, and News for Elementary, Middle, and High School Educatorsmedium.com
Support Social and Emotional Development
2019 is as good a year as any to focus on improving or sharpening your approach to social and emotional learning (SEL). The research on SEL is constantly expanding, so there’s so much to learn, even for educators who have been practicing SEL for years. We know that SEL should be integrated into core academic instruction, that SEL should be culturally responsive, and that educators are looking for more parental involvement and support in SEL instruction. If SEL is at the foundation of your new year’s resolution, it’s not too late to sign up for The Great Kindness Challenge, a free program that promotes kindness and positivity in the classroom or throughout your school:
Use Technology with Purpose
Like many classrooms, technology is likely a constant presence in your classroom. While every digital learning integration, whether it be district-wide or in an individual classroom, is a constantly evolving work in progress, the new year might be a great time to reevaluate your strategy for digital learning. It can be all too easy to simply replace existing learning activities with devices without influencing learning in a meaningful way. Every use of technology in instruction should be purposeful, and the introduction of technology to a lesson should somehow change that learning experience for the better. The SAMR model is a great place to start in evaluating how your use of technology influences learning. For more on using technology with purpose, watch:
Get in Touch with Your Inner Learner
In an environment where it’s more important than ever to make strategic decisions, drive with data, and use research-based teaching practices, a strong new year’s resolution for any teacher would be to stay dedicated to learning. With such demanding, busy schedules, we know how challenging it can be to find time to read academic research. But perhaps setting it as a new year’s resolution will allow you to carve out time to read one new piece of research a day, or a week — and work out a way to apply what you’ve learned. To find new and relevant education trends, news, and research, we recommend signing up for newsletters from established organizations like:
- The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
- The American Institutes for Research
- The National Science Teachers’ Association
- The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- The International Literacy Association
And many others. You can also join regular Twitter chats for a more casual learning experience by gathering best practices and tried and true lessons from peers.
What’s your new year’s resolution for 2019? Have we missed any important areas of focus for your work in the coming semester? Comment below!