A Teacher’s Guide to Setting Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

It’s officially 2020, and you know what that means don’t you? It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. Now we’re not talking about the outlandish “run a marathon, give up sugar, wake up at 4 AM” type of resolutions. We are all about actionable, achievable resolutions. We’re talking goals that you still want to keep after January is over (because we all know that we’ve ditched plenty of resolutions before February rolls around). Before you sit down to write your resolutions this year, just remember our acronym: TIME. You don’t have infinite time, so your goals need to show how you can make the most of what you have. Let’s break it down:

  1. T is for Tiny. Now we aren’t asking you to squelch big dreams or to aim lower. The best goals, though, are ones that are set in achievable chunks. Aim high but break down your goal into tiny parts. For example, some of you might have a goal for 100% certification exam pass rate in your classroom. Now, rather than only thinking about this goal at the end of the semester when students take their certification exam, you’ll be much more successful if you integrate tiny goals into your weekly lesson planning. Week one could be to have everyone register for a Certiport account, along with the set-up for learning and practice test accounts. Week two could be to have everyone take the certification, to see where they do well, and where they struggle. The following weeks would then be broken down into the topics that need additional focus. By the end of the semester, your students are so well prepared, that you’ll achieve your overall goal. Focus on the tiny.
  2. I is for Integrated. We’re all ambitious when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. However, most resolutions are forgotten before February rolls around. How can you successfully make your new goals a part of your daily routine? Make sure they’re integrated! If I have a goal to stop procrastinating my grading, then I need to make grading an integrated part of my day. Best way to do that? Make it happen in small chunks of time (there’s that T coming into play again). You may not be able to grade all your assignments at once, but you can certainly grade a few at a time throughout the week. Set an alarm for 20 minutes each morning. Tackling a little each day makes it so you won’t forget and you won’t feel overwhelmed trying to do it everything at once. Don’t forget to integrate.
  3. M is for Measurable. One of the biggest mistakes people make in setting goals is ambiguity. “I want to be more patient with my students,” or “I want to communicate better with my students’ parents” are both great goals, but how will you know if you’ve achieved them? They key to feeling that sense of accomplishment when you achieve your goal is making sure it’s clear what your goal is. So rather than saying “I want to communicate better with my students’ parents”, why not say, “I want to send a congratulatory email to two parents a week, acknowledging something great about their student.” The goal serves the same purpose, but it’s much easier to notice and measure your progress. Make it measurable.
  4. E is for Exciting. How many times have you set a goal, only to leave it behind after a couple weeks because it’s just not interesting to you? It happens more often than not. We’re all about pushing outside our comfort zone but setting goals you can be passionate about make them easier to achieve. Our suggestion? Set a goal to attend Certiport’s CERTIFIED Educator Conference this year! Not only is it exciting, but it’s a great way to improve your skills as a educator. You’ll be able to connect with other teachers across the country and expand your skills with the largest CTE conference in the country. Add a little spice to your year and make sure those goals are things you’re excited to achieve!

Make 2020 the best year yet! Remember, it’s your TIME to become the best teacher you can be (see what we did there?).