I try to live in a #growthmindset so New Year’s is not that much different for me than anytime in the year as far as resolutions go. I try to constantly look at what I can improve at and how I can change. But since so many people use this time of the year to reflect and find something to improve on, I have a suggestion about what to focus on for teachers. Now is a great time of the year to look back and find something that you need to stop doing, in order to be more effective as a teacher.
There are many things that we do, as teachers, that are not effective or useful, yet we keep doing them because we have done them in the past or because it becomes easier to do it that way. We need to be reflecting critically and think about what we can put on the “Do Not Do” list. I remember when I put “grading homework” on that list and instead focused on improving feedback related to the practice I was asking my students to do. No more homework went into the grade book as I focused on improving my assessments and the feedback that I gave to my students. This was more of a change for the parents of my students and when they saw what I was doing with my time instead, they understood why I made the change. I took that time I would waste grading homework, which would not be used by my students to improve, and put that time towards better feedback. Learning improved because I was helping my students see how they were learning and not just giving points so I had something in the grade book.
One thing that I would definitely suggest to a lot of people is to stop using the copier or printer so much. The amount of time that we waste at the copier, waiting for page after page to be printed so we can just hand them to our students, is immense. If we have such readily available access to technology, think of all of the time that we can save by just clicking the “Share” button instead of the “Print” button. And if you are going to the copier to print worksheet after worksheet, rethink about that and think about how we can do something more than a worksheet that doesn’t require memorization but allows for thinking. There are so many things that we can do that are better than a worksheet, that the time it takes to design a new learning activity is gained through the loss of the time that we would waste making copies of that worksheet.
What are you going to put on your “Do Not Do” list this year?