For most people, January marks the start of a new year. However, as a teacher, September is the beginning of the year for me. September is when the odometer of the year’s passing begins once again. August is the last of my holiday months and each day draws me closer to the start of my calendar year: September. I actually consider January as my mid-point.
As I write this post I am lounging in bed at 8:25 am. This is the last Monday of the school year where I won’t have either essays to grade or think about assigning. I’m usually up by 5 or 6 am, so staying in bed past 8 0’clock is borderline sloth for me.
As I proofread this post it’s 6:09 am and I have four minutes before I must scamper into my morning routine. It’s Friday of my first week back to school. How can four days make one weak?
A new year typically calls for new year’s resolutions. I don’t much prescribe to resolutions, instead I form goals. Here are a couple so far:
1. Go deeper instead of wider. I teach seniors which means they are maxed out on absorbing much more information. This year I’m going for them really understanding at least one aspect of each unit. They don’t need to know the entire litany of Anglo-Saxon history, but knowing that Beowulf was one of the first epic hero archetypes is something that will distinguish a faithful film adaptation from a ridiculous one (Angelina Jolie’s version).
2. Mix more fun in with firm. I have the reputation as a toughie–my son would bear the brunt of this distinction when he was in school. “Dude, your mom yelled at me.” He would then say something like, “You probably deserved it.” They had nowhere to go on that one. But, I also have a sense of humor, and I’m sure I can combine a jib with a jab when the occasion calls for it.
3. Be a more of duck than a sponge. Both deal with water, which I translate to stress. A duck lets water roll off its back and swims merrily around in the pond, whereas a sponge absorbs the water until saturated and can’t properly function anymore.
4. Work smarter, not harder. Testing for comprehension is big news these days. We are all tired of being over-tested. Students especially. Grading tests is not so great either. Measuring academic success can take the form of discussion, a presentation, or a project. I’m hoping for less paper proof of knowledge and more creative measures of learning achievements.
5. Respond more than react. Reacting is typical: “Are you kidding? You are 20 minutes late to class and now you want to go to your locker?!?” Or “Admin is switching to early release schedule for a pep assembly!!! Finals are coming up–what are they thinking?!?” If you have a proper response to these scenarios let me know. I realize it involves something to do with removing exclamatory tone and waving of arms.
Anyone else consider September their new year beginnings? Parents? Students? Other teachers?
As with my resolutions, these will no doubt epic fail before October is ready to roll. That’s why I disguise them as goals–if I fail, I have an excuse to keep trying.