08/27/2014 11:40 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

New (School) Year Resolutions Part 2

As students and teachers return to the classroom for the 2014-15 academic year, Teach Plus teachers across the nation reflect on their goals and aspirations in a series of New (School) Year Resolutions.

Josie Malone
HS English Teacher, Washington, DC
Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship Alum


Focus on the Moment
As teachers, we know that a certain amount of multitasking is necessary and important. For instance, I can't focus on helping Crystal with her vocabulary sentence without also monitoring the climate of the rest of the classroom. But I wonder how much is lost when my mind is focused on too many things at once. This year, I resolve to tune into each moment with a student. I will tune into each concept and standard when planning a lesson, and each task on my to-do list to ensure that I don't miss out on something important, whether it's an observation of a student, a better question I could pose, or a more purposeful nuance of a lesson that I could tweak to increase student understanding.

Shane Donovan
HS Physics and Robotics Teacher, Washington DC
Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship Alum


Not accepting half truths
This year I resolve to push my students to fully articulate all of their thoughts. Too often I let them get away with something that sounds close to my vision of what I want them to say, but that falls short of the words or actions of a truly brilliant scientist. This year I resolve to challenge my physics and robotics students to conjecture boldly and specifically, to be precise and clear, and to not accept a half truth as a whole truth.

Susan Volbrecht
5th Grade Academic Interventionist, Chicago, IL
Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship Alum


Be Transparent
My resolution is to be completely transparent with my students. All objectives, standards, goals, and rationale will be articulated to them. I want them to know that everything they do in class matters, and their time is too important to ever receive busy work. I'm hoping that this will start a dialogue about which of my teaching strategies they find most useful, and they will be empowered to take ownership of their education.