4 Awesome New Year’s Goals for Teachers

Being a teacher is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs there is, and the truly great ones can make a lasting impact in a child’s life. Think of it this way: everyone had a favourite teacher growing up. Yours might be someone who inspired you, taught you a significant life lesson or always cheered you on. No matter who it was, they made an impact on your life because they were special—and fortunately, there are a lot of special teachers out there.

Educators are always learning and growing themselves, and sometimes, it helps to have fresh inspiration. Here are four professional and personal goals for teachers to embrace in 2022.

Help Students Embrace Creativity

Creativity can be demonstrated in countless forms, from creative writing or making art to singing, dancing or even comedy. Children often seem naturally creative, but there are ways to encourage this skill and help students of all ages flourish in the classroom. Offer a variety of assignment formats so students have choices and try new things or consider giving more open-ended assignments. Bring art and music into a math lesson, use computer design programs to combine art and technology, or have students lead their own creative projects. STEAM challenges are always fun and can foster creative thinking. If you’re teaching younger grades, consider a variety of tactile art projects using paint, plasticine, pastels and other mediums. Older kids may appreciate a lesson that involves art history or photography, especially if they’re given an opportunity to express themselves.

Want some more inspiration? Here’s a great read from Edutopia on bringing creativity into the classroom so kids can thrive.

Teach Resilience

Resilience isn’t just a buzzword—it’s an important life skill. As Positive Psychology states in a recent article, “Teachers who teach resilience might change the trajectory of their student’s lives. It is not easy to teach resilience in the classroom, but it is crucial.”

Childhood is when many habits are formed, and resilience is one that can help build strength, confidence and a strong sense of self. In an era where ‘overparenting’ or helicopter parenting is common, students can use the guidance of an experienced educator to help form resilience that will last a lifetime. It’s not about forcing students to overcome major adversity—more so, it’s about facing everyday challenges head on, learning from mistakes and moving forward with a growth mindset. Resilient kids are often more independent and subsequently, perform well in school and social situations. This is an exceptional goal for students, and something all adults should strive for as well.

Be an Advocate

It’s important to help kids feel confident about asking questions or speaking up in class, whether it’s a minor issue or something serious like mental health, equity issues or human rights. As an educator, you’re inherently a role model to students and sometimes, modeling exceptional behaviour is the best teaching method of all. Use this opportunity to explore nuances in human behaviour (not everything can be categorized as “right” or “wrong”) while subsequently teaching your students to think critically and advocate for themselves. Encourage them to speak up, listen to their voices and collaborate with their peers. You may find that one student is passionate about the environment while another cares deeply about anti-racism work. The kids are alright, but great teachers play a role in helping them find their voice.

Create Balance in Your Own Life

When so much of your time and energy goes into your job and your students, it can be difficult to unplug and take care of yourself. Mental health and other elements of personal wellness are critical to all types of success. It’s like the popular sentiment: you can’t pour from an empty cup. In 2022 and always, be sure to fill your cup regularly to feel like the best possible version of yourself. You deserve downtime and rest, and your students will ultimately benefit from having a healthy, happy teacher.

Want more ways to achieve balance in your life? Check out these wellness tips for teachers from psychotherapist Kelly Bos.

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By Staples Canada

December 22, 2021