If you’re tempted to skip New Year’s resolutions as a teacher this year, we hear you. Between substitute shortages and bus driver shortages and, well, all that was 2021, attempting to plan for 2022 may seem like tempting fate. But the Teach Starter teacher team is looking at New Year’s resolutions for teachers a little differently this year.
We know it’s been a rough few years for teachers, and we know you don’t need another list of things to do to make you feel more overwhelmed. You are already doing an amazing job. Stop a second. Re-read that last sentence.
You. Are. Doing. An. Amazing. Job.
With that in mind, we created some New Year’s resolutions for teachers that don’t ask more of us, but instead ask us to be more aware of the great things that we’re already doing. These resolutions ask us to take a moment to focus on the small, day-to-day things and in doing so, become more motivated, more energized, and better teachers.
Are you ready to set some positive new year’s resolutions?
Positive New Year’s Resolutions for Teachers
Resolve to Say No
Say no when the principal asks if you can fill in as a sub during that prep period you desperately need. Say no to coaching the academic challenge team when you already have your hands full at home and really need to scoot out when your contracted hours are complete. Just … say no.
While all teachers — regardless of gender — are asked to do a lot, it’s worth noting that research has shown that women are less likely to say “no” at work than their male colleagues. In a profession where the ratio is approximately 3:1 — female teachers to male to teachers — that’s a lot of saying yes.
Resolve to Make Work-Free Time
We realize that some teachers actually enjoy grading in the early hours of the weekend when the rest of the family is sleeping. And some teachers prefer lesson planning on a Sunday evening. We can’t make all that out-of-school work go away (although we can help with lesson planning!), and we’re not here to dictate when you should do it. You have to do what works best for you and your schedule.
But we can tell you that you need to find the right time for that work, and stick to it so that work doesn’t leak into your important time with family, friends, or just time for yourself.
Resolve to Make Actual Me Time
While we are on the subject: When was the last time you had time that was just for you? As teachers progress through their careers, they often encounter the problem of mental stress and fatigue. It’s no secret that a teacher’s nature is to nurture, and usually, we channel all that energy into the children in our care.
It’s important, however, to take the time to care for yourself. Prioritizing time for yourself at least once a week can be incredibly beneficial to your mental and physical health.
- Complete our Teacher Mental Health checklist (it’s free).
- Take time out to de-stress.
- Have a chat with a friend or colleague.
- Ensure you have a good life/work balance.
- Take care of your physical well-being.
- Practice mindfulness.
Resolve to Ask for Help
You are the commander of your own classroom, but you are not on this ship alone. Whether it’s turning to your teacher team for a much-needed pep talk, turning to teachers on social media for ideas, creating a Donors Choose to crowd-source funding for all those extra classroom needs, it’s OK to throw up the white flag once in a while.
Resolve to Set Achievable Goals
If you’re looking for a new year’s resolution that includes change in your classroom or your structure, make sure you aren’t putting too much pressure on yourself. Make sure you’re goals are SMART:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
Are you able to verbalize exactly what it is you want to achieve? What evidence will you look for to show that you’ve reached your goal? Is your goal something that is actually feasible in the time and space you’re given? Is it worthwhile? How long will you give yourself before you re-assess your actions?
Resolve to Not Take It Personally
This is a tough New Year’s resolution for many, and not just for teachers. As humans, we care about what people think and say about us. But the next time you get an email from a parent that sets you on edge, or a student is just a tad bit mean, consider this: It’s not always about you. Yes, the words they used were personal, but are they lashing out because they are having a bad day? Is there something going on at home? Giving others grace allows us to separate the attack from the person’s situation and end up giving ourselves grace while we are at it.
Resolve to Forgive
Each person matters, each day, but sometimes, you and certain people may just have a hard time understanding each other. Again, this is human nature, so don’t be too hard on yourself. But if you’re looking to make a New Year’s resolution, resolving to let go of disagreements and misunderstandings you’ve had with students and colleagues can lift a huge weight off your shoulders.
Looking for New Year’s activities to kick off the year with your students? Check out our full array of New Year’s resources for teachers.
Banner image via shutterstock/rido