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New School Year Resolutions

Are you used to making New Year’s resolutions after Christmas? What about at the beginning of the academic year? How will you be a better teacher this academic year? Adam Watkins shares some of his resolutions and how he tries to keep them.

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With a new school year upon us I’ve been  thinking about my ‘New school year resolution’. I started this a few years ago when I realised that each year I seem to be getting more and more organised and confident in my practice. I then thought about what else I could become better at and started to think about past and present colleagues and how I aspire to be like some of them. I aim to be the best teacher I can be and the best version of myself.

As a teacher I have high expectations of my pupils so I thought why should it stop there? Why not raise my personal expectations and constantly  strive to improve myself? As I have mentioned in a previous blog I have a small fear of becoming complacent and ‘stale’ so this realisation of a ‘new school year resolution’ was the perfect way for me to avoid the fear becoming a reality!

I am aware that this is no new idea and many teachers across the world adopt a ‘new school year resolution’ for all kinds of reasons including wanting to challenge themselves and have a more positive impact on their practice.

After speaking to a few colleagues I realised that many of them didn’t really think about each new school year and that they didn’t have a lot of time to reflect on what they could possibly change. This is an unfortunate occupational hazard in our profession as there often ins’t  a lot of time  to stir the sugar in our coffee let alone think about the year ahead! However, I am committed to the concept and hope to inspire others to do the same.

Here are a few of my past resolutions…

  • Remain positive and keep a smile in my face even through the most difficult of times at school
  • Create job lists and prioritise tasks daily
  • Set out resources for the week to save time 
  • Create a more inviting classroom environment
  • Read more educational literature and use networking sites 

It is important to note that I work hard to keep many of these resolutions ongoing so that they just form a natural part of what I do daily and help me toward my goal of being the best I can be.

On reflection of some of these ‘new school year resolutions’ I came to the realisation that it should be more about the impact it has on students and the life of the school. One can be flexible with their resolution and after regular reflection can change or tweak the resolution to gain maximum impact on teaching and learning. I like to think that keeping positive for example has an impact on staff and that this is reflected in pupils’ attitude and engagement.

Sometimes one just needs to focus on themselves and could choose a new school resolution that has a positive impact on them only at first but then this usually impacts positively on the school and its pupils. I recently had a conversation with a colleague who decided that this coming year she needed to adopt a healthier work- life balance, something that is current at present and is an important topic to address.

This year my new school resolution is to stop rushing around frantically, for example, sprinting from the computer to the printer because I’m worried that I’ll lose a few seconds PPA time! I hope that this will not only help the soles on my shoes feel more stable but will create a calmer atmosphere in the work place therefore resulting in a calmer working atmosphere in the classroom itself.

What I always do and I would encourage others to do the same is to think about the steps I’m going to take in order to accomplish this new resolution. It is easy to say, ‘I’m going to change this’ or ‘I’m going to try this’ so I found that making a clear plan in my head would help me on my way. Small steps are best to begin with and think about them often. Once you get started it becomes a lot easier.

At the end of each term and then at the end of the school year I reflect back on the progress made and on how far I have come at achieving my ‘new school year resolution’ and I find it both remarkable and rewarding knowing that I’m becoming a better person for it. Try it and see… you won’t regret it!

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The author

Adam started his career after graduating from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David where he studied Primary Education. He has taught in Wales and overseas including Dubai and Malaysia where he taught in large private schools across primary and secondary. Adam returned to Wales a few years ago with his wife to start a family and is continuing his career as a Primary teacher and Learning Coach. He is an author and contributor to the Times Education Supplement and enjoys spending time travelling with his family and playing tennis. He is also passionate about curriculum development and innovative learning.

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