Sam Shah puts out the call for three new-school-year resolutions. Alison Blank, second-year math teacher and blogger to keep an eye on, drops a list:
I will take just a few minutes to review lessons after I’ve taught them, and learn from my mistakes.
I have found “learning from my mistakes” to be exceptionally easy in the minutes and hours immediately following un lesson de suck, while the stripes are still fresh, ragged, and raw. It’s another matter entirely to learn from those mistakes a full year later, as you’re about to confuse transformation with translation all over again.
Which is one point in favor of slideware. It’s simple to leave yourself notes on top of the offending slides, notes which you’ll encounter the next year, notes which (for me) were often profane and excoriating but always always appreciated.
Todd Seal takes a different route to his new year, vowing a set of anti-resolutions, what he won’t do this year:
Collect writing and then ignore it for a month. Expect study questions answered every night. Give daily reading check quizzes worth tons of points. Skip grading blogs on a Saturday morning. Wait until April to institute a classroom after-school writing lab. Circle every single grammatical error on a given page.
It’s an awesome exercise and every bit as valuable as a set of positive resolutions.
One more word while I’m on Todd: I’m pretty sure this is his thirteenth year teaching. He’s well above my blogroll’s median level of experience but he comes at his teaching and, especially, his writing about his teaching like he’s fresh out of an induction program.
What I’m trying to say is, it’s one thing for Alison or Sam or I to write a post of resolutions. That kind of regret and self-recrimination basically spills out of eager, new teachers. But I would urge anyone looking to turn this job into a career to keep an eye on Todd, how’s he’s stayed hungry long after his peers have fattened themselves up.