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A New Year…A New Start

Author: Dawn Mitchell


Hello everyone!

We are excited to begin a new semester with you and with your students and look forward to the experiences and growth 2020 holds. In December, I encouraged you to spend some time over the winter break reflecting on this past semester, considering where you and your students have grown since August, and what new goals you want to set for yourself and for your students.  As you consider your New Year’s goals, I want to share with you a few by educator, Annie Condron from her blog post on TeachHub:

  1. Stay Positive - Coming off a much-needed break, it’s time to figure out how to make your classroom a happy place for you and your students in the long stretch to summer.

  2. Spice Up Your Classroom Routine - Try one new technology or instructional technique each month to keep things new and challenging for you and your students. Making a list and assigning one new thing to each month will help you actually stick to this resolution.

  3. Build Fitness into Your Curriculum - It wouldn’t be a resolution list without some mention of better health. Make it a classroom affair with healthy eating lessons, integrating movement into your day-to-day activities and just encouraging you and your students to take care of your bodies.

  4. Get Your Work/Life Balance in Order - As best you can, keep school work at school and enjoy your time at home. Making yourself happy will be better for you AND your students.

  5. Give Individual Time & Attention to Students - It doesn’t have to be formal one-on-ones, tutoring or meetings, but try to integrate a rotating classroom job in which your students help you do something. You can check in with him/her individually and see how everything is going (whether they’re the best , worst, loudest or quietest student in class).

  6. Get Organized: Work Smarter, Not Harder - With the fresh start, it’s a great opportunity to get your classroom organization back on track.

  7. Don’t Let Admin & School Policies Get You Down -  There is nothing you can do to change those annoying policies, unnecessary meetings or mounds of paperwork, so try to take a Zen about the situation rather than letting that sour mood infest you and your classroom.

  8. Plan Your Move Up the Payscale - Whether you need to add professional development hours or graduate credits or change positions, consider what your careers goals are and get a move on them!

  9. Set Goals & Avoid Autopilot Mode - Now, I don’t mean your school and official achievement goals, I mean your own personal classroom goals. What is one or two things you think are important but forget as soon as the flurry of the teaching gets in the way? Write one achievable goal a month on your calendar and make it a priority.

  10. Get Students Involved/Empowered - By giving students more control over their assignments and activities, they will hopefully take ownership of their education and use their talents and interests in a positive way.

  11. Make Better Use of Planning - Time Resolve to bust it out during your planning time so you can take less (or hopefully no) work home with you. It’s tempting to take the much-needed break during your day, but it’ll feel even better to walk away with an empty bag at the end of the day.

  12. Dress to Impress Yourself - Don’t underestimate how feeling good in your clothes and wearing something you love can lift your mood and start your day on a positive note. Grab a few new, fun pieces to add to your typical work outfits and turn those hallways into your own personal runway!While I thought this was an excellent list to jump start us, what resolutions will you bring to your classroom in the new school year?

Lastly, as you begin today, I want to share a relevant reminder from a colleague. It helps us keep in perspective how very important our roles are as an encourager, a positive influencer, a source of comfort, and a protector in the lives of our students.  We appreciate you and how you put students first today and every day"

As you stress about having to back to school soon, just remember ... there is a child who hasn't been in an encouraging atmosphere since they left your class, bus, lunchroom, library, before Christmas Break - they can't wait to see you!



Dawn Mitchell

South Carolina ASCD President



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