This will be the year in which every child hits their attainment targets. You will fill out forms and remember where you put them. When someone asks for paperwork, you will produce it immediately. Your class will fall silent at the raising of one eyebrow. You will learn to say no to cake in the staffroom.
You will, in short, finally master the art of teaching.
All these things and more seem easily achievable from your mid-August sun lounger, but once September bites, it doesn’t take long for new-year resolutions to fall by the wayside. Here are four tips to help you make manageable promises to yourself – and keep them.
- Be realisticYes, it might be nice to provide individual verbal and written feedback after every lesson, to produce fortnightly 3D interactive displays and to run four after-school clubs a week, but if you do all of that the chances are you’ll have been stretchered away by half term.
- Make time for behaviourQuite often teachers fail to achieve their goals simply by not paying adequate attention to their grasp of behaviour management. Make behaviour new-year priority number one. Spend as long as it takes to set high behaviour standards, and enforce them with a fervour bordering on obsession.
- Work-life balanceAsk any teacher what they’ll do differently this year and the answer will most likely be “improve mywork-life balance”. Sadly this is easier said than done. Guard your free time like a Rottweiler with a bone. Think of something you find relaxing – yoga, wine, tantric sex – and do it regularly. Don’t work on a Friday night, and have at least one lie-in a week (unless you have kids of your own, in which case you’re screwed).
- Celebrate the small thingsWhen you hit mid-term exhaustion and something goes wrong, it’s all too easy to wallow in a pit of despair – but don’t. Remind yourself of your successes: good lessons, happy children, grateful parents. If that doesn’t work, watch that video of Michael Gove falling over.