As many of us are in the process of starting a new academic year, or about to start one, we are probably making new resolutions, becoming determined to try new things or wanting to focus on improving a specific area of our craft. However, at this time I would suggest that not all these aims are equal and a new year doesn’t necessarily require a new you.
This is my 13th time going through this process and reflecting upon the previous 12 years one thing I am struck by is how much good stuff has slipped because I have been trying to introduce or try new things. Teaching is a juggling act in many iterations of the phrase – juggling students different personalities/needs; juggling interactions with parents/colleagues; juggling different commitments and most challenging of all juggling your time to ensure a work/life balance. Whilst keeping all these balls in the air, something has to be allowed to fall, and when reflecting on my personal development it is often a strategy I adopted previously which I have dropped for something new and shiny. Now, some of these things needed to go, they were time consuming and had limited impact. However, some good stuff has also been dropped along the way. Therefore, I would suggest that a new year does not require a new you but rather a more refined and focussed version of yourself.
I would also suggest that not all resolutions are equal. Improving an area of our craft will always have a positive impact on the learners we are responsible for and often any slip in standards in another area will be temporary until we become more proficient in the area we are working on. However, dropping something where there is evidence of it having a positive impact on learning in your class for a shiny new edu-fad is not always the right choice. It can be, if it has a greater impact, but it needs to be thought about carefully. A message I feel can become lost at this time of the education year.
Therefore, this year I am going to do things a bit differently. I am going to list the different things that I have tried (and I can remember doing!) and sort the gold from the rubbish. I am then going to look to incorporate all the gold into my teaching practise before making any further plans from there.
What golden elements are you going to look to re-introduce into your practise this year? What rubbish are you going to let go? Please leave your ideas in the comments section below.