Second semester or the time after Winter Break is a great time to make adjustments in your teaching. You know your students and have some systems in place, so why not pick something small but significant to change and improve? These small changes add up over time and will lead to longer lasting results. So here’s the process I’ve found to be successful time and again, as well as what I plan to adjust this semester.
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- Identify ONE thing that you want to work on, and be specific. Don’t just say “classroom management.” Determine which students are the instigators and decide how you’re going to fix those relationships.
- Now set realistic goals to fix that one thing. Don’t try to fix everything because then it won’t stick. You have all of your teaching career to try to fix everything, so pick one thing at a time
- Next, picture your classroom, your students, and you. Picture what it would be like if that one change was successful. Be a fly on the wall and imagine the activities you would do, how the students would behave and work, how you would deliver the lesson and assess students, etc.
- Now, write it down somewhere – on paper, in a Note on your phone, in a Google Doc. Just write it down and set your intention.
- Next, write down what it will take to achieve that, and be really, really honest with yourself. You might have to rebuild relationships with some students. You might have to change some aspect of your teaching or planning. You might have to ask for someone to observe you and give you feedback. You might have to go on Teachers Pay Teachers and find a lesson or activity that will help you.
- Your next step is to figure out when you’re going to start this. When is your deadline for starting this?
- How will you track and assess your progress? Will you create some sort of graph, chart, or graphic organizer? Will your journal your progress? Make it concrete so that when you take a few steps back (which will inevitably happen in the process), you can look at the situation objectively and know what to fix.
- How will you reward yourself along the way for hitting certain benchmarks? This part is REALLY important to keep you motivated! Don’t just think that success is its own reward, you need something tangible so that you can push through when things get tough. It could be an extra night of Netflix, a piece of chocolate, a glass of wine…whatever makes you happy. But have a planned reward system so that you don’t give up and revert to bad habits.
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