Educators are my favorite species. They not only work incredibly hard all hours of the day to make an impact in the lives of those they teach, they are also constantly working to improve themselves as well.
Each year I taught, I wanted to make my classroom, lessons, and engagement better. I was always trying to level-up. I still am. I made resolutions each school year and again at the start of the new year. I love those imaginary reset buttons!
Here are twelve resolutions I believe every educator should make:
- Rethink Homework: “But students need the practice!” Really? I’m not telling you not to give homework, but I am asking you to rethink what you are sending home. Check out the book Ditch That Homework by Alice Keeler and Matt Miller for ideas. Talk with fellow teachers and admins. Rethink homework. Please.
- Transform the Use of Technology in Your Classroom: Technology should be used the majority of the time to create content, and only briefly to consume. Examine how you are using tech in your classroom. Offer your students amazing ways to create and publish what they know. Create digital textbooks, videos, presentations, animations, and more! Get going. If your students are mostly on websites clicking answers, well… you’re using it poorly. Try the book 50 Things You Can Do with Google Classroom.
- Share Your Story: Take all of the great things you and your students are doing and share them with the world on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, a blog, YouTube or write a book. Everyone benefits. Start this, this year!
- Attend a Conference: It is always awesome to get out of your classroom and learn something new, get inspired, and apply it. I recommend returning and giving a presentation to your building and maybe even your board. If you don’t return and apply it, then maybe you should let someone else go in your place. Apply.
- Apply to Speak at a Conference: Share what you know! Don’t have anything special enough to share? Then it’s time to level-up and get after it. I’m serious.
- Nominate a Colleague: Yes, find someone in your district you admire and nominate them for some recognition. Why? Because they deserve it, and when one educator is looked upon positively, all educators are looked upon positively.
- Collaborate with a Colleague: Open the door to your classroom both figuratively and literally and find ways to collaborate with other teachers. I suggest creating an interdisciplinary thematic unit with a culminating activity with other teachers at your grade level. It’s fun, memorable, and good for students.
- Lead: Rather than complain about something you don’t like, create a solution and begin implementing it. That’s called leading. We are all educational leaders. Need help? Read my book Along Came a Leader, or one of my favorites, Start. Right. Now.
- Start a YouTube Channel for Your Classroom: Hey, it’s all about video. I found myself watching someone cook a fish dinner the other day on Facebook. I watched the whole thing. I don’t like to cook, and I hate fish. My point is… video done well can be engaging, and your class could be open to students 24/7. Do this now.
- Get Connected with Other Educators: Build Your Personal Learning Network (PLN) either online by using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or reach out to educators in your building, district, or state. Share what you know. Learn from them. Show other educators how to do this.
- Publish Student Work: Find unique and powerful ways to share and publish the work your students do in your classroom. Give them authentic audiences and genuine purposes to create. Build a website, start a podcast, host a “fair”, publish them on a blog, YouTube, or SeeSaw. Publish their work.
- Contact Every Family You Teach: Seriously, forget the email. Pick up the phone or send a postcard home to every family you teach. Find something positive to say about every student and offer them a personal challenge in your class. Let them know you care about them.
- (Bonus) Read an Educational Book: There are so many great educational books out there that will change your career. Grab one and see what a difference it makes. Looking for suggestions? Try Teach Like a Pirate, Lead Like a Pirate, or Empower. Also check out my podcast for links to fantastic educational books.
What did I miss? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.