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My New Years Resolutions


We asked the Education World Tech and Teacher Teams: What are your New Year's resolution this year -- professionally speaking? What will you do to become a better employee...colleague...educator...supervisor...mentor...? This is what they said

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What are your New Years resolutions this year? Share them with your colleagues on an Education World message board or on our Facebook page.

"My PNYR," Doug Johnson told EW, "will be to use fewer acronyms. I think I'll join the AAAA -- Association Against Acronym Abuse.

"Nah, I could never keep that one.

"Instead, I'll be studying how one might make change in schools a more humane endeavor. Most change theories and advice center on effectiveness rather than on kindness, building human potential, and educational climate.

"I've had Canadian education change expert Michael Fullan recommended to me twice lately. I really like his Six Secrets to Change:

  • Love Your Employees
  • Connect Peers with Purpose
  • Capacity Building Prevails
  • Learning Is the Work
  • Transparency Rules
  • Systems Learn
Each of those "secrets" recognizes the value of treating others with value and respect.

"I am resolved to do change efforts -- with heart.

"And figuring that out will be more challenging to learn than using a new gadget or some new software, that's for sure.

Cossondra George is resolved to have heart as well. "My professional resolution is to be positive in all situations," she said; "to look for the good in other staff members; and to find ways to encourage them to grow and learn. I want to be more proactive in sharing exciting new ideas and research with other teachers, at my own school and beyond. In order to do that, I need to build strong personal learning networks, and find ways to mesh those networks to effectively share ideas among us all."

Linda Villadniga agreed, saying, "In order to become a better employee/co-worker/mentor, I will work collaboratively within and outside my department, sharing ideas and strategies with younger teachers, but also listening to their ideas and strategies to get a fresh approach. I think there needs to be more cross-curricular activities to engage students more actively, so they can see the value of studying another language.

"I also plan to fine tune my AP Spanish Language curriculum so students feel comfortable going into my exam and I resolve to attend at least one more AP workshop."

Matt Shea also plans to "continue learning in the new year. Im working on my masters degree to understand education and our teaching staff better. That learning will aid me in designing more professional development for our teachers and staff; professional development that will reach the bottom line, which is this: teaching students to become lifelong learners. Therefore, 2010 will be a year of absorbing educational practices, as well as best practices, for integrating technology into the lives of our students in the classroom."

Best practices for technology integration also are on the mind of Nik Peachey, who told us, "My New Year's resolution will be to read more (keeping up with what's going on at the moment is so important), and to try to write with more depth. I write quite a lot of articles and blog postings, but I'd like to start working on stuff that really makes people think a bit more deeply about the use of technology in teaching and learning."

Mary Kreul agreed. "My professional resolution is to work harder to share ways to incorporate technology into teaching and learning with my colleagues. Last week, a colleague asked about starting a class blog with her students, so we're going to meet after winter break to plan how to include additional colleagues in that venture. I enjoy collaborating with colleagues, so Im looking forward to having fun as we work together to make exciting changes to our teaching."

Organization is another topic on the minds of our team members this year. "Im going to try to get and stay organized," Amy Davis told us -- "to stay on top of paperwork, grading, record keeping, and so on. I also plan to make sure I say and/or do something positive to a coworker every day. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our own classroom and responsibilities, we neglect to make a point to be outwardly positive and encouraging of others. You never know when someone might just need a good word -- and it will make you feel better too."

"My goals for the new year," said Julia Timmons, "are to

  • get organized. Its always my goal to be better and better organized.
  • become a better listener. Public radio recently had a great broadcast on that topic and it made me think. The right to speak comes with the inherent assumption that everyone also has the right to be heard.
  • offer more and better training, integration help to my teachers. My big push this year is Web 2.0 tools; working with my staff to help students become better digital citizens."

Debra Hovens resolutions are perhaps the most practical and concrete. She told Education World, "I'm going to respond to my students' email within 24 hours; update my blog more regularly; and learn to use one new online tool every month ... I hope! Well, I'll at least try."

Stress, of course, is always an issue for busy teachers. "My main New Year's resolution is one Im working on already, but one I definitely want to see improvement in for the new year," said Janice Friesen. "Im determined to deal better with stress and information overload. The stress I feel at times affects all my professional roles. I plan to meditate more regularly, and to be brutal in dealing with e-mail lists (getting off those I mostly tend to delete). I plan to take more deep breaths and to remind myself to relax, instead of tensing up as the day goes on."

"I have several New Year's Resolutions," Lucy Gray noted...

  • "to relax and rest more, so I'm prepared for stressful times.
  • to read more. I have stacks of books I've been intending to read.
  • to develop and use a task list, so I'm more on top of deadlines.
  • to fully explore the plethora of iPhone apps I've downloaded this year. I want to use some of them to their full potential!"

"I want to find inner peace," said Laura Jones -- "to better balance my life at school, so I can feel more relaxed during the day."

Wally Fullers resolution for this year was a little different -- and quite ambitious. "There's always time for everything," Fuller said. "My resolution is not to shortchange my students; to give them as much of my time as I can give. Not an easy task, but an achievable goal."

John Thompson, however, had the most ambitious goal of all. "I think Ill just strive to be a better person," he said, "and let that spill over into my professional life."

Who Are They?

The Education World Tech Team includes more than 30 dedicated and knowledgeable educational-technology professionals who have volunteered to contribute to occasional articles that draw on their varied expertise and experience. The following Tech Team members contributed to this article:
* Janet Friesen, technology instructional partner, Barton Creek Elementary School, Eanes ISD, Austin, Texas
* Cossondra George, grade 7 math and social studies teacher, Newberry Middle School, Newberry, Michigan
* Lucy Gray, education technology specialist, Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
* Michael Hutchinson, social studies department chair, Vincennes Lincoln High School, Vincennes, Indiana
* Doug Johnson, director of media and technology, Mankato Area Public Schools, Mankato Minnesota
* Mary Kreul, grade 4 teacher, Richards Elementary School, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
* Nik Peachey, freelance learning technology consultant, writer, teacher trainer, based in Morocco
* Marcella Ruland, high-school history teacher, Glenelg High School, Glenelg, Maryland
* Matt Shea, director of technology, Lopatcong Township School District, Phillipsburg, New Jersey
* Krystal Weiss, grade 4 teacher, Memorial Drive Elementary School, Spring Branch Independent School District, Houston, Texas
* Guy Whitman, grade 7 social studies teacher, Fremont Middle School, Fremont, Nebraska
* Shelly Whitman, grade 8 english teacher, Fremont Middle School, Fremont, Nebraska
* Katy Wonnacott, grade 7 geography teacher, Signal Hill School, Belleville, Illinois

Article by Linda Starr
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