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.
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.
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.
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.