Educators often feel pressure to be perfect, but that is not something we should strive for. Not only is perfection unattainable, but it's also kind of boring. Where's the thrill and adventure when things go well all the time? How can we grow and improve if we are not subjecting ourselves to experiences that could lead to failure?
Sometimes for experiences to be truly memorable, we have to step out on a limb, outside our comfort zones, and take risks. This inevitably will lead to imperfection and discomfort. And it is in these moments that we grow and strengthen.
I love this time of year because it feels like a fresh start. It's time to make new commitments and resolutions to improve who we are as people and professionals. And I think the resolutions we make right now should not to be perfect- which is often a temptation of educators. Instead, we should set goals that are attainable and stay focused on always improving.
Here is the text from the video above. The words in bold are the "Unattainable Teacher New Year's Resolutions," and the other text is my take on a healthy, strong resolution any educator can make.
Happy New Year's my friends!
In 2019, I’m going to make sure every one of my students not only passes, but loves my class.
In 2019, I’m going to find more ways to connect with students in my classroom, and try my best to help all of them succeed. But I’m going to give myself grace when some don’t.
In 2019, I’m going to finally get scored “highly effective” by my principal.
In 2019, I’m going to continue to get better at my craft, and seek new ways to do that, but I’m not gonna let some measurement system tell me what kind of teacher I am.
In 2019, I am going to win over all of my students’ parents and get all of them to understand I only want to do what’s best for their children.
In 2019, I’m going to make more positive phone calls home, even for my tougher students, but I’m going to remind myself that I can’t control how every parent perceives me, and that’s okay.
In 2019, I’m going to grade everything the day it was submitted.
In 2019, I am going to be more selective of what I grade, start using words like practice with my students so they realize why they’re doing the work and why I don’t need to grade all of it, but also realize sometimes I will spend Saturdays digging myself out of piles of papers. And in 2019, I am going to reward myself at the end of those days.
In 2019, I’m going to make sure every lesson and unit I do in my classroom is huge and unforgettable.
In 2019, I do want my class to be memorable, but I also don’t want to burn out, so I’m going to pace my myself, and still have some engaging projects and lessons, but also be okay with times that are not exciting and maybe even boring, as long as it’s meaningful.
In 2019, I’m going to scour Pinterest every day finding new ways to make my room look like a mix between Disneyworld and Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and at night I’m going to take an online calligraphy course because everyone knows that beautiful handwriting on the bulletin board is what students remember most.
In 2019, I’m going to continually remind myself that classroom decorations are great and my students might appreciate a little bit better handwriting from me, but they are not going to remember how my room was decorated. However, they will remember how I made them feel, which I hope is safe, energized, and passionate about learning.
In 2019, I’m only going to do what went well last year so my students’ experience is perfect.
In 2019, I’m going to embrace failure. I will fall forward. Have a growth mindset and know that it’s good for me and my students when things don’t always go well. And it’s these moments that make me a better teacher and person. And so I will not be afraid to try new things in my classroom, or if I am afraid, I will do them anyway.
In 2019, I’m only going to read professional development books so that I can become a better teacher.
In 2019, I think I’m going to read Harry Potter again, because while PD books are great, and there’s definitely some I’m excited to read this year, sometimes I have to think about things other than teaching. And the rest from the education world actually makes me a better teacher.
In 2019, I’m going to care for every kid who walks into my classroom, and I’m always going to strive to make learning come alive, and be meaningful, and epic for them.
Yeah, me too.