Happy New (School) Year!
I wrote this a couple of years ago but as another school year begins or – depending on where you live – as tyou enter the second, third or fourth week of school – I thought I’d republish my Happy New (School) Year post. I wish you all a wonderful year as teachers, students, administrators, specialists and/or parents!
Originally published in 2012 –
I’ve personally never found New Years (Eve and/or Day) to be particularly special. That’s not to say I haven’t had some wonderful New Years Eves. New Years in Las Vegas, Puerto Vallarta, north of Montreal in a ski chalet, at a house party or at a community dance were all terrific, but New Years has always been more about the people I’ve been with, than the whole business of a new year.
What is different on January 5th as compared to December 17th other than a digit in the year? Nothing. I’ve never been successful with New Years resolutions because the roll over of the year just didn’t seem significant enough to bother making a change.
Now, the other new year – the beginning of the academic or school year – has always been exciting for me. This is a time when things really change. There are new students in classrooms, new teachers and administrators in schools and often new people providing central support. Some of these changes can be wonderful, some can cause apprehension and fear, but there is always change and things in the academic world are never the same in September as they were in June!
So, why not consider some New (School) Year resolutions? It’s a great time to make resolutions since everyone is getting a fresh start with clean classrooms and desks, empty planners and assessment grids, new first day outfits and white board markers that still mark!
I’d like to offer some resolutions here. I’m going to suggest one resolution that I feel is key for students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and central office support staff. Of course, there could be many others, and hopefully, you’ll suggest some, but these are resolutions I think would make a big difference for everyone.
New (School) Year Resolution for Students: In the upcoming school year, I resolve to speak up, ask questions and advocate for myself. You know that there are many students in your class. Your teacher does they best he or she can to know what’s going on with each one, but really – that’s pretty much impossible without your help. If you don’t understand, let your teacher know. If you’d like more explanation or additional assistance with a particular topic or concept, ask questions. If you feel like someone is not treating you the way you should be treated, talk to an adult that you can trust.
New (School) Year Resolution for Parents: In the upcoming school year, I resolve to work in a cooperative manner with my child’s teacher and school and to keep in mind that we are on the same team – we both want the best for my child. Too often I hear parents talking about their child’s teachers, putting them down and criticising them in front of the child. This is a recipe for disaster. Parents don’t need to always agree with their child’s teacher, but the disagreement should not involve, or be in the presence of the child. It would be best if all parents – and teachers – started off the school year on the “same team”.
New (School) Year Resolution for Teachers: In the upcoming school year, I resolve to learn with and from, my students. Teachers who can embrace the idea of learning with, and from, their students prepare their students for lifelong learning. Learning with your students is the foundation to creating an environment of genuine collaboration (when collaboration is appropriate). It also validates for students that what they say and think is important.
New (School) Year Resolution for School Administrators: In the upcoming school year, I resolve to support my staff and realize that like students, every staff member is different, with different personalities, strengths, and teaching styles. Any school administrator who can recognize this fact while leading each of his or her staff members in their professional growth is worth much more than the allowance they receive as an administrator.
New (School) Year Resolution for Central Office Staff: In the upcoming school year, I resolve to try to see the world from the point of view of the teacher. It is all too easy for those teachers who have central support positions to lose sight of the day to day pressures and stresses on the classroom teacher. Teachers often feel that those in central office positions have “lost touch” or “don’t remember what it’s like in the classroom.” They sometimes see us as folks with a very focused and specific agenda that seems more important than anything else at that moment. But we all need to remember that there are other people from central office, and the Department who all feel their message is the most important and these teachers often have to juggle many “most important” messages.
So, on this eve before returning to school for the first official day in September (or after returning in August), I ask you to reflect on your own situation and position in the world of education and make a resolution for this New (School) Year!
Feel free to post your own resolutions or suggestions and comments.