Blogging my teaching resolutions at the start of 2012 was surprisingly effective. I worked hard at pretty much all of them for the rest of the year, and I felt like it really paid off. (The notable exception was transferring my teaching license, which I never got far with. Instead, I’ve developed the nasty habit of just starting an application for it whenever I have an exceptionally bad day… gotta kick that this year.) So, we’ll try it again for 2013:
1) I will get back on this blog. I will write more, since I know that talking about things here has always been good for me. I will stop being so silenced by privacy concerns and start looking for stories during the day that are safe to share. I will also try to do my part to make this a welcoming community for new teachers, and make an effort to leave more comments instead of just complaining that all the commenters are mean.
2) I will act my age outside of work. My new job ages me decades every time I walk in the door, but that doesn’t mean I need to stay that old when I go home. Shouldn’t I be able to flip that like a switch when I change out of all my new work suits? Carrying the weight of my world on my shoulders at home isn’t helping anyone, and I’ll never have any fun if I’m staying at work until 8 just to bring my stress level down enough to leave. I will do my hair, I will go on adventures, and I will stay in touch with my friends.
3) I will not be so afraid of making teachers angry. Most of the time, I’ll be as nice and as helpful as I possibly can, because my job is a support role. But I can tell when you don’t love a student anymore, and I can tell when your actions are no longer with that kid’s best interests at heart. I can tell the difference between when you send a kid to me because they deserve it, and when you send a kid to me because you just don’t want them around anymore. I’ll never undermine a teacher in front of a student, but I want to learn how to say the right thing later to make it better. Not silently allowing those relationships to deteriorate would really be worth a few ruffled feathers.
4) I will be more preemptively helpful. I can do whatever you need when a situation has gotten out of control, but my strength as a teacher was preventing those crises in the first place. I wish I were helping some of our newer teachers learn how to do that, but the seemingly endless stream of catastrophes and kids in need of babysitting effectively trap me in the office. I will work on getting someone else to supervise occasionally so I can be places where I’m not just putting out fires.
5) I will appreciate others, in writing. Since my job security comes from bad things happening, there isn’t much of a positive way to measure me. (“Wow, no fights today? Great work, Ms. Mathinaz!” doesn’t really roll off the tongue.) While I try to be satisfied with just not getting much criticism, I treasure the few nice things that have been said to me this year. If I’m going to wish that hard work were better recognized, I should start by living that with other people. I’m surrounded by people who work hard and do great work every day, and I don’t want them to feel unappreciated either. And writing is better, since you can keep it and read it again on bad days.