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7 new (school) year habits to make this your best ever teaching year

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

7 new (school) year habits to make this your best ever teaching year

 

Being a teacher is like living two lives. In one life, you’re piling task upon task each day, and coming up with yet another challenge - “have you marked our assessments yet…?”

In the other, you enjoy the long balmy days of summer, you revel in the company of your friends and family, drink beer and wine like it’s going off, and ignore the impending start of term - the return to normality.

I know that sounds a little bit negative, I don’t mean it to be – I love my teaching job, the excitement of learning in progress, the inspiration of open minds and the achievement of success. However, sometimes, I do wish the two weren’t so opposite.

With that in mind, here are seven things I’m going to do this year to keep work in perspective, stay focused on what’s important to me and be the best teacher I can be this school year.

Value important relationships

This seems simple during the summer break, when time with friends and family is abundant. That’s the way it should be – these people are the reason you go to work, not the other way around. Why should someone else’s children get the best version of you in the day when your kids get the tired and rundown version in the evening? When possible, try to keep a solid margin around your workday and limit the work you take home.

Prioritise health

We’re not all going to run marathons, or walk from coast to coast, but a small amount of exercise will make a difference in the way you think and feel. Make a habit of this now, at the start of the year, so that when you get busy it’s already established.

Your best is more than enough

Your work will never be finished in teaching - there’ll always be more that can be done. That’s something we live with and must accept. So, when you walk away at the end of the school day, say that to yourself - I’ve done my best, that’s enough.

Truly understand what’s required

Talking to others with school teacher jobs, I’ve noticed that many don’t actually know what they’re required to do. Find out. Do you really need to do all those assessments? Do the books need marking in that much detail? If not, let it go and focus on things that are really going to push your students on – or even something for you.

Set and keep to your own personal targets

As teachers, we are always dealing with targets. We see them as a school, for our students and for ourselves. But do you set targets for things you want to achieve? That could be to do with fitness, a promotion, or something personal. Write down what you want to achieve and look back at it throughout the year.

Don’t even think about reinventing the wheel!

Unless this is your first year in a teaching job, you’ve got a load of tried and tested resources. They’re great, they’re fine – use them again. The students don’t care if they’re photocopies from a textbook made in 1979 or if they’re brand new with colourful graphics - they’ll do the same job.

Learn

You’ll be able to learn something new this year - however long you’ve been teaching. Set that as a challenge and try to learn something from each one of your students. Not only will this make you a better teacher but also help you to love the job in the dark winter days.

What targets have you set for yourself this year?

What could you do differently?

Luke Richardson

 

@LukeRicha: Inspiring creativity, positivity and an adventurous spirit. Teacher, writer and blogger.

About the Writer

Luke Richardson is an English teacher from Nottingham. He loves to write, blog and tell stories! Follow him on Twitter and check out his blog here: lukerichardsoneducation.com

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