For us teachers, “New Year’s Day” offers a second chance to look ahead at all of the possibilities and make new resolutions. In addition to the luxury of celebrating the new year with a fresh start to the school year in August, we observe the January 1st New Year along with the rest of the country. Teachers are experts at ringing in the New Year, and have twice as many opportunities to be creative with New Year’s resolutions.
As part of my personal “second New Year’s celebration,” I resolve to enjoy more meals with friends and family at home by pulling out a few of the “tried and true” recipes. By cooking up lasagna, bisque, or a pie, I need not worry about the basic recipes, but can add a special twist or two to the old favorites and focus on listening to and enjoying the guests.
It’s time for a similar resolution in the classroom…
Teachers have an endless smorgasbord of “new dishes” out there to digest and absorb into the classrooms—new Common Core standards, new changes in curriculum, new instruction, new technology. Of course effective teachers need to continually sample and master new curricula, keep up with the latest technology, and learn new instructional strategies. However, to maintain excellence, teachers also need to fully digest, taste, savor, and add new spice to the instruction being served. We need to nourish our students with some “tried and true” menu items that improve over the years with reflection, experimentation, and modification.
So what can we do to provide a balanced menu in the classroom? Very simply—let’s find some truly great recipes for learning and prepare them more than once.
To welcome 2015, here’s a simple New Year’s Resolution for the classroom– “Do something old.” Choose a lesson or a unit that was taught before, and find a way to improve it by approaching it from a different angle, presenting it in a more engaging way through technology, enriching it with questions to promote high level thinking, focusing on an applicable state standard, or adapting instruction to meet the unique needs of a student. Have fun. Be fulfilled.
Let’s resolve to teach something old, but not just again—Let’s teach it better.