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New Year, Same Great Teacher: 7 Accomplishable New Year Resolutions for Teachers

It’s no secret--especially to today’s educator--that teaching K-12 students in the modern school is an incredibly stressful feat. Don’t add even more stress to 2017 right off the bat by promising to meet lofty and unrealistic New Year resolutions. While everyone has things they’d like to better about themselves in the new year, no one benefits from committing to major lifestyle changes that just aren’t feasible.

Education World has brainstormed using some of our stand-out advice from 2016 to come up with a few ways you can improve in 2017--all while avoiding that defeated feeling come February when you struggle to meet unmanageable expectations.

1. Get into a Daily Stretching Routine

Don’t: Over-commit your time and money to a demanding workout routine

Do: Integrate stretching into your daily flow

It might be compelling to go out and sign-up for a new monthly gym membership or purchase some fancy in-home equipment to help you better integrate exercise into your routine this year. But chances are, you’re going to be just as busy in 2017 and just as tired after a long day as you were in 2016; forcing a new, big commitment into your routine is something you just might not be able to maintain.

Instead, start small by integrating stretching into your daily routine and take it from there.

In this resource, veteran educator Keith Lambert provides educators with six daily stretches that can be done at anytime of the day to keep you fit and flexible. Start here, then see if a year-long gym membership is something you can maintain.

2. Save Money by Spending Smarter

Don’t: Set unreasonable financial goals

Do: Actively practice money-saving techniques

While it might be unrealistic to make grand changes like going entirely paperless or cutting your annual budget in half, there are tangible ways you can give your wallet some relief this year.

For instance, instead of getting supplies at full-price from your usual go-to store, you can try buying used goods from an online consignment shop that caters to teachers. Pass the Apple is one such store that can prove to be a valuable money-saving resource.

Other techniques for saving money are seeing what you can DIY, taking advantage of year-round discounts available to teachers and buying supplies wholesale.

For a full list of ways to save this money this year without going crazy, see here.

3. Be Mindful

Don’t: Assume stress is something you can simply will away

Do: Acknowledge stress and fight it by being mindful

As we acknowledged before, the modern educator is stressed out. This isn’t a bad thing all around, as studies have found that teachers with lower stress levels run better classrooms.

There’s no one magical way to eliminate stress, but there are ways to better handle it.

One way is by getting into a routine of being mindful, or cognizant that you should be taking some time every once and a while to check your mind.

"Practicing mindfulness and taking time for meditation during the day is an oft-overlooked survival tool that should be in every teacher’s toolbox," says veteran educator Lambert.

"It’ll help you to stay present with your life, and therefore your teaching . . . making sure you are fully aware and invested in your students, paying close attention to their needs and responding with the utmost compassion and care."

Read Lambert’s tips on being a mindful educator here.

4. Skip that Second Cup of Coffee

Don’t: Try to give up coffee by going cold turkey

Do: Make an honest effort to cut back

You’ll sleep better, feel better and save money if you cut back on your daily coffee intake. Again, saying you’ll cut coffee out of your routine completely is a lofty goal that’ll probably just make you feel bad later, so try to cut back instead.

According to Lambert, drinking more water, smart snacking and chewing gum are all a few ways you can effectively cut back on coffee throughout the school day.

5. Learn That Open Educational Resources (OERs) are Your Friend

Don’t: Pressure yourself to instantly be an edtech guru

Do: Take advantage of some useful edtech resources out there

Earlier in 2016, a survey found that despite the increasing number of free OERs available for educator use, many educators are not taking advantage because they’re unaware of the benefits.

But what’s not to love about standards-aligned, quality, free and easily accessible material? Nothing! Take advantage of all the free resources available to you this year by familiarizing yourself with OERs.

Great places to start include:

6. Embrace and Find Value in Evaluation

Don’t: Try and reduce stress by giving up on caring about your school’s evaluation process

Do: Figure out how to embrace and find value in evaluation despite the process’ flaws

According to award-winning writer Jim Paterson, there are ways you can find value in your school’s evaluation process this year, in turn finding ways to improve your performance while getting on the same page as administrators.

Such ways include fully understanding evaluation criteria, making an effort to establish relationships with administrators despite busy schedules and collaborating on the process with colleagues.

See the full list of tips here.

7. Appreciate Yourself.

Don't: Expect every day to be a rewarding, positive experience

Do: Understand that your journey to finding validation is an important, on-going one that will continue this year

Make an effort this year to feel confident in your progress as an educator by understanding what you are doing right.

2017 isn’t just another year, it’s a whole new opportunity for you to grow and develop and improve on your craft. By recognizing your career as an exciting journey, this will get easier to see.

Lambert recommends doing things this year to understand the rewarding nature of your job by setting up a separate social media account to connect with recent grads and watch them on their journeys, hosting just-cause celebrations with colleagues and finding a positive workplace equilibrium.

See his full list of tips for finding validation this year here.

 

Happy 2017, teachers! You got this.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

1/3/2017

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