Teaching Tips for the New Year

Teaching Tips for the New Year
Cross Country Education
January 16, 2023 06:43 AM (GMT-04:00)
Educator Resources

Refresh, Reflect and Revamp: How Teachers Can Get a Fresh Start in the New Year

We all love a fresh start, and lucky for educators, school is about new beginnings!

Each new school year, every return from spring break and every January 1 marks an excellent opportunity for a reset.

That’s why it’s smart to take this opportunity halfway through the school year to pause and catch your breath, consider how things are going for you, and make a plan to charge ahead with an optimized approach and renewed energy!

Whether you’re a general education teacher, special education teacher, travel teacher or sub, these pointers from our team can help you refresh, reflect and revamp for the new year.

1. Refresh Your Passion for Teaching

Teaching can be draining. Many teachers, especially new ones, hit the ground running and burn out quickly. It’s important to pace yourself in order to be successful and maintain the energy it takes to stay in the career and succeed at it! It’s also critical to rest when you can.

Use your time off to relax and do what restores you. Make a list of activities that calm you down, feed your soul and restore your energy.

  • Do you like to spend time with family, friends or pets?
  • Do you prefer to travel or stay home?
  • Are you a hiker, reader, runner, painter, birder, dancer or musician?
  • Do you like the ocean, mountains, rivers or lakes?
  • Are you into yoga, massage, mani-pedis or spa days?

2. Reflect on How Your Teaching Has Been Going

An important part of growing as a professional is honestly evaluating your performance. As an educator, you may be able to get more clues about how well you’re doing as reflected from your kids and the classroom.

Journal about what’s been going well and what hasn’t. In a private journal, write down answers to the following questions:

  • Are you happy in your career?
  • Is your classroom organized?
  • Do your students listen to you?
  • Do you feel your strategies are helping your students perform to the best of their ability?
  • How are your connections with parents, colleagues and administrators?
  • Are you able to keep up with grading, data, IEPs, etc.?

3. Revamp Your Teaching for the New Year

Don’t stay in self-critique for too long though. After making an honest appraisal, move on by taking your list and generating solutions for any challenges you’ve encountered. This will help you quickly determine how to proceed. Plus, you’ll be surprised at the positive energy and motivation that naturally follows!

Turn each of your challenges into actionable solutions. Next to each item, write what you’ll do differently for the rest of the year. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Here are questions to help you strategize:

  • Can any tasks be delegated to staff such as parapros, assistants, etc.?
  • Can you involve your students in generating solutions?
  • Do you need to ask administration for help?
  • If you’re taking on too much, would it help to say “no” more often?
  • Would setting boundaries help?
  • Is this issue related to classroom organization?
  • Could you find resources to help online or from more experienced teachers?

Here’s a chart with some examples of how to reflect on past challenges and revamp to develop future solutions:

Reflect on the Past Revamp for the Future

My students don’t listen when I ask them to settle down. I have to raise my voice, which only makes them get louder and stresses me out.

I am going to try directly teaching listening skills, using hand signals and paraphrasing (Edutopia). I’m also going to try to bring mindfulness activities into the classroom.

I am totally overwhelmed with keeping up with paperwork like assignments, grades, IEPs, data collection, etc.

I am going to reach out to my mentor and also to a few experienced teachers I trust. I am also going to find some resources on getting paperwork organized (WGU).

I like teaching, but I don’t love my school. I feel like I’m not ready to settle down in this location, and I want to fulfill my sense of adventure.

I’m going to finish out my contract this year, but in the meantime, I am going to look into becoming a travel teacher in the future.

We hope this resource on how to refresh, reflect and revamp your teaching for the new year is a helpful addition to your teaching toolkit! Sometimes, a fresh start is all we need!

Find exciting nationwide opportunities as a teacher now!

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