I Hate New Year’s Resolutions
So it’s 2015, Happy New Year, and everyone is making resolutions. I, for one, do not make any resolutions. It’s not that I’m perfect, rather I’m not a fan of setting myself up for failure. Most people treat the resolutions like a sprint – start strong and end quickly. I view changes more like a marathon – slow and steady – for better results.
How Does This Relate To A Teaching Blog?
All the talk about resolutions got me thinking about changes we, as educators, make. We change our approaches year after year; we change lessons (even if we’ve been teaching the same grade for 10+ years); we change our outlooks; we are constantly changing. That’s what keeps us fresh, invigorated, and excited.
And how do these changes occur? Well, some are organic – as times change, so does our approach. Some, more often than not, come through challenges. Those challenges can come from a failed lesson, a problem student, varied ideas from colleagues and administrators. My most significant challenges have led to my most significant changes.
Look, I’m like any other teacher. I would love to have a class full of students that did what I asked the first time around, hung on my every word, and told me that everything I said was great. Fact of the matter is, that kind of class would probably scare me, then I’d get soft – as a teacher.
I’ve learned to be humble and listen to students’ ideas. It’s those students who say, “Can we … instead?” who inspire me and make a lesson better! Recently, I wrote about a student who made my life easier. Frankie suggested a better way for groups to individually turn in assignments on Google Classroom (post). If I did have that class that never questioned me, it would have taken me a lot longer to realize there was an easier way.
Which Led To This Thought…
Does everyone prefer a challenge (not the ones that make you go home and cry)? Or are there those that would rather be surrounded by the ‘yes class’? Upon reflection, I sadly came to the conclusion that there are those who would rather be surrounded by the ‘yes class’ (aka yes people) than face challenges. I have been in one organization or another since childhood. I have been a part of the ‘yes class’ – mainly out of fear of retribution – and I have also been a part of the ‘can we…instead?’ class. Without a doubt, I can say the ‘can we…instead?’ class is not only more enjoyable, but it’s also a more safe and productive environment.
My Point To All This?
Ditch the New Year’s Resolution and challenge yourself. Surround yourself around those that will make you a better person and/or teacher. Seek out others with opposing viewpoints, you can learn a thing or two from them. Even if it’s as simple as ‘that’s NOT what/how I want to be, do, or teach’. Have conversations and accept other’s ideas. Challenges can be good; it’s where we learn and grow.
And have a GREAT 2015 – even if we don’t have those hoverboards just yet.