Instead of focusing on the five or six squirrely students who are off task (as long as they aren't harming themselves or others), I will be more positive and reward/acknowledge those who are on task. I will make more of an effort to call these parents and share that their student had a great day. It won't happen daily, but I can try to call 2-3 parents a week.
Two: Rearrange & Reinforce Expectations
They're getting new seats. Small group reading (both AM and PM) are getting assigned seats, as is my new science group, everyone is getting new seats. I feel like Oprah, new seats for everyone! In small groups, we will start again with no centers and re-learn one per day with very clear expectations. They'll have more must-do's and I'll make a pride board for outstanding work.
Let's be honest here, I'm really excited about making a clothesline to show off work, come up with a cute title and paint polka dots on mini-clothes pins. Pictures to come!
Three: Life-Work Balance
This is what I struggle with the most...that whole work-life balance. I'm lucky to have a very understanding boyfriend who also works long hours & balances work/school but I can't keep working these 12+ hour days once we start a family. I understand that there will be long days, but they shouldn't be every day. I shouldn't feel guilty for leaving at 3 pm when I got there at 6 am. I should ignore other's comments about "oh, must be nice to leave early!" when it's at least an hour after my contract time (meaning I stopped getting paid over an hour ago). It shouldn't feel like a "special" day when I'm gone by 3:30. We're an early start school, which means my contracted day is 7:10-2:11. In all honesty, there would be nothing wrong with leaving and being home by 3 pm most days of the week, but there are lots of judgmental eyes at work if you do this. Luckily, none are from my amazing team :)
As long as I've done what I need to for my team and I'm fully prepped for the next day, that will just be good enough.
Four: TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers)
I will aim to post one new product a week and spend no more than one hour a day revising products I've made for my classroom. I've still got a few dozen novel guides to revise (add in suggested answers, homework questions, etc) but there have to be time limits. 2 TV episodes & I'm calling it a day :)
Five: Try New Strategies & Be Okay with Mistakes
I like to learn new things and I like to try new strategies. They don't always work great the first time and I need to continue to be okay with that. Sometimes, it's my fault for not being clear enough in my instructions. I need to make sure I'm continually modeling exactly what I expect from them instead of just assuming they get it becaue I've got the higher reading groups.
I'm currently mentoring one new third grade teacher at my school, a new fifth grade teacher at a neighboring school and a pre-teacher from my Alma Mater (ASU!). I love it, I get excited when the strategies I've shared are working in their classrooms. I want to make sure I don't slack on this and take the time (prep) to go observe the teacher at my school to give meaningful, timely feedback.
I'm still in denial that I have to go back next week, but I'm determined to put more fun and joy into my job. Happy teacher = happy classroom.
What are your resolutions?