I recently read NEA Today’s article about the Top 10 things teachers can do to make this year the Best!! Ever!
If you’ve followed my blogging, you know how I feel about Top 10 Lists. I love a good Top 10 List. David Letterman’s Top 10 Lists. Top 10 Ways to Potty Train Your Toddler. Top 10 Reasons to Try Kale. Top 10 Food Trucks in Portland. Top 10 Shade Loving Plants. Top 10 Brass Hardware Options to Spruce Up Your Kitchen.
Here’s my Top 10 List for making this year Your! Best! Ever!!!
- Connect with your Peers
Collaboration amongst peers is listed as one of the Nine Characteristics of Highly Effective Schools. Not only is collaborating with peers a chance to commiserate, vent, and complain. It is also a chance to communicate good ideas, share resources, and talk about what’s working.
Another great way to connect with peers is virtually. Visit the PSESD twitter monthly twitter chats using the hashtag #WATeachLead. It’s a great way to get ideas, hear what others are trying, and expand resources to support Common Core.
- Connect with your students in a positive way
Start the year off right by making a positive connection with the students in your class. I used to call each student in class before the school year started, telling them how excited I was to meet them. Some teachers send postcards, some teachers open their classrooms before school. Start out positive! Deposit money in the Relationship Bank Account before you have to make a withdrawal.
- Find a passion
It’s drudgery to show up to work every day. Day in. Day out. Make it interesting. Find a passion, something you’re interested in, something that wakes you up in the morning with excitement. For some, this is training for a marathon. For others, it’s taking a pottery class. For some it’s learning a new language to communicate with the students in their class. Find something that sparks you.
- Worker smarter, not harder
There are so many initiatives. Can we work smarter, not harder? Can we combine the assessments we use to evaluate TPEP goals with ones that screen for interventions? Can we nest TPEP goals so we don’t have to create 3 different assessment tools?
I also believe we shouldn’t re-create the wheel. (See Connect with Peers above and Try New Technology below).
- Find balance
It’s drudgery to show up to work every day (see Find a Passion above). You must find balance. Some people find balance by leaving soon after work to be with their families. Some people make sure they walk or run every day. Some people practice yoga or tai chi. You are a person, not a teaching machine. Find some time to balance out your work life.
- Set up your room in a way that works for you
Were you irritated all last year that the kids tripped on the document camera cord to get to the pencil sharpener? Could kids not find a place to put papers when they were done? Set up your classroom materials, desks, and resources in a way that makes sense to you and your students. A few hours of organization now will save you big time headaches in the long run.
- Imagine the perfect classroom
How do you want your classroom to feel? How do you want your students to behave? How do you want to feel when you are teaching content? Imagine it now! Then make it happen! Teach the kids what perfect looks like for you. Then teach them again. CHAMPS and PBIS practice the research based theory that you cannot expect students to perform a behavior until you teach them. So think about what is ideal to you. Then teach it!
- Set some goals
Maybe you’re not doing Comprehensive TPEP this year. I still think it’s a great idea to set a goal. Perhaps it’s trying something from this top 10 list. Or maybe you have a student growth goal you want to reach. Set a goal. Make it happen.
- Try some new technology
Try a twitter chat (see #1), read a blog, ask someone to show you how to use that document camera, track grades with an electronic grade book, update your web page. Start by following us at the PSESD, or join our monthly Twitter Chat! Try something new! Or find an 8 year old to help you. :)
- Find your WHY
Simon Sinek describes in his TedTalk (Puget Sound Version!!) how leaders make a mistake by telling what they will do, rather than why they do it. If you want to inspire yourself and others, you must find Your Why. Why did you go into teaching? Why do you show up at work every day? What drives you? Read about My Why here.