What’s a new year without committing to some resolutions? I, of course, have a few personal resolutions as well (one being to hit the gym as frequently as I was able to while on break!), but the two weeks off school and clean slate feel of a new year truly lend themselves to reflection and purposeful goal setting for the classroom as well:
- I will commit to eliminating teaching strategies I know to be ineffective. To be actionable, goals need to be specific, and I admit this one is a bit broad. However, I recently stumbled upon an article about five common teaching practices that should be booted. I do two of them and I’m sure there are more. As teachers, sometimes we stick with something (even if it’s not working) because of comfort or because it’s worked in the past. Perhaps we have no time or energy to research something new. To help solve this problem, I’m going to utilize the expertise of my colleagues. Collaborating has been a hugely beneficial over the past three years as we’ve transitioned to new standards and assessments. I cannot speak enough about how helpful it is for teachers to open their classroom doors; even if it’s me popping into my colleague’s room for 10 minutes while my students are at PE. That brings me to my next resolution…
- I will commit to watching other teachers teach. I just told you how helpful it is to watch the instruction and routines happening in other classrooms. Unfortunately, despite knowing the value and insisting that others take part, I rarely find time to do this myself. We get so caught up in our daily routines of planning instruction, teaching all day, meetings before and after school; it can get difficult to branch out of the status quo. Why not make watching each other teach part of the status quo? As we near the middle of the school year, and are well into our teacher evaluation cycles, something you observe happening in another classroom and implement in your own could be exactly what you need to move from proficient to distinguished somewhere on your TPEP rubric. Again, it doesn’t have to be an entire or half day of release; ten minute here and there is plenty to pick up on new strategies that might be effective in your class as well.
- I will commit to becoming more familiar with the Next Generation Science Standards. My understanding of these standards is incredibly surface level, as I’ve devoted the last couple years to learning and intentionally implementing Common Core ELA and Math standards (with much success!). I have learned a good amount from my fellow CORElaborate bloggers (see here and here), but it’s time that I dive deeper and really analyze what these science standards are asking kids to know and be able to do. No more random acts of science or following science kits blindly. I already have great resources at my fingertips in the form of my colleagues here at CORElaborate as well as excellent teachers in my own building.
There you have it! Creating resolutions can sometimes be scary, as the process often involves identifying what is not currently working. Even the best of teaches have room to reflect and grow. What are your classroom resolutions for 2016?