4 Teacher Resolutions for the New Year

As 2016 comes to an end and 2017 rolls in, it is time to start thinking about ways to improve our educational practices. We spend the first semester really getting to know our new students and understanding the different classroom dynamics of each class period, so it only makes sense to take what we know and improve our teaching practices.

Here are 4 resolutions to incorporate in the new calendar year.

Teacher New Year's Resolutions to help make a difference
One thing I want to focus on this year is providing my students with meaningful feedback that will enhance their learning. Sure, I can quickly jot down a checkmark next to a well-written sentence , but how does that really help my students?

To provide my students with more meaningful and effective feedback, I’m going to write about two detailed comments on major papers that point out specifically what the students did well and why it works.

Instead of writing “nice intro” on an essay, I might write, “great job on your thesis statement. It is detailed, to the point, and includes a strong verb.” To make this comment more beneficial, I would circle the strong verb, and possibly add a couple more strong verb suggestions to help my student grow as a writer.

Teacher New Year's Resolutions to help make a difference
When students collaborate with one another, they get to act as a student and a teacher. As the student, they get to demonstrate their mastery of the topic and learn from other students in the classroom. As the teacher, they get to reteach the content in their own language to their peers.

The best way to learn something is to teach it, and that is one of the reasons why collaborative work is so great.

Another reason I want to add in more collaborative work in my classroom is because it provides students with more real-world experience. Students need to know how to work with different groups of people, and practicing in the classroom is a great time for them to learn this vital skill.

Some of the collaborative activities I love are collaborative essay brainstorming and collaborative rhetorical analysis posters.

Teacher New Year's Resolutions to help make a difference
Our students are 21st Century learners, and as educators we need to embrace that in our classrooms to help students reach their full potential.

If you are new to educational technology, one way to easily incorporate edtech into your classroom is by having students complete a collaborative assignment in Google Docs or Google Slides. I especially love using Google Forms in my classroom because there are so many different uses for Forms.

If you are brand new to Google Forms, you'll want to read my introductory Google Form blog post. If you've used Forms in the past, you might be interested in different ways you can incorporate Google Forms into your classroom.

For digital lessons and resources, be sure to check out my SMARTePlans digital, Google-based resources. These resources are engaging, and students love how they are interactive.


Teacher New Year's Resolutions to help make a difference
Trees and paper are finite resources, so it is important to be ecologically responsible. While the idea of a completely paperless classroom might be a little too unattainable, there are several ways to reduce paper consumption in our classrooms. 

I’m always trying to think of ways I can use less paper in my own classroom, and here are some that I have found: Have students take quizzes on half or quarter sheets of paper; encourage students to write notes on the back of their paper and in the margins; utilize class sets of copies; encourage collaboration with shared copies; ask your TA to clean out and catalog (preferably Google Sheet that is shared among your entire department) all of your class sets of copies and texts; and share class sets of reading materials with other teachers.

What is your New Year's Resolution for the classroom?

Nine Memes English Teachers Can Relate to at the End of the Year

Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.
As the end of the semester nears, it's time for the same ol' routine we encounter every single year. Between final grades, final exams, final essays, cumulative projects, letters of recommendation, and more, we need to remember that we've made it through before.


1. It's officially excuse season. Our students suddenly realize that there are less than two weeks left in the grading period, and they get pretty creative.
Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.

2. While some of the excuses demonstrate creativity and ingenuity, others are just .... blah. It's like they think this is our first year teaching or that we didn't attend high school ourselves.
Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.

3. Then there is that moment when you realize that last week's plans are completely back firing on you right now. Lesson learned: watch the movie AFTER students turn in their essays.
Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.

4. During this time you might begin to wonder why you have a Google Classroom, classroom website, parent information page, digital calendar, whiteboard calendar, and Remind account.
Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.

5. The begging and pleading during the end of the semester is almost comical.
Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.

6. And then you look back at your desk and remember all of the grading you still need to do. Just the mere thought of it makes you question your sanity.
Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.

7. But just like every single semester before, you make it through and grade that one last, glorious paper or exam.
Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.

8. That is when reality sets in and your to-do list is complete for the first time since the semester began. You also realize you won't be waking up at 5:00 for the next couple weeks.
Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.

9. Enjoy your break, teachers. You deserve it!
Teacher humor: Memes all secondary English teachers can relate to at the end of the year.

You might enjoy these end of the semester activities in your classroom: