New (School) Year’s Resolutions

On this eve of yet another glorious year of teaching, I want to set three goals for myself to improve my work.  After reflecting on what my strengths and weaknesses are, and what I want to achieve, I’ve settled on these basics:

1.  More time for independent readings in class.  Each quarter will start with a good book chosen by each student from my lists, and I’ll set aside a couple of class days to read and take notes and/or fill out a log.  After that, they might bring in their own stuff for a few more days of reading here and there.  We read plenty in my classes, but it’s usually from the textbook, with most of their other reading being done on their own.  That doesn’t cut it.  This will pack in more quantity of reading, which kids desperately need.

2.  Speaking of desperate needs, we’ll do more short, spontaneous compositions with instant editing and feedback.  I always want to do more of this, but never get around to it, and it’s so essential.  Quick writing workshops with paragraph-or-two compositions that they’ll peer edit / I’ll edit and they revise in another quick draft, all in one day.  This will benefit their mechanics better than enything else I can think of.  This must be done every other week, at least. 

3.  Finally, I’ll be nicer.  Not in class, I mean, where if anything I should be more strict and where my ability to act enthusiastic when “on stage” serves me well, but outside of class, when kids come in for help or make up work, or when I see kids outside of school.  As it is, my painfully shy, introverted side takes over there and I tend to mumble dismissive one liners and look the other way.  As much as I hate to admit it, a more engaging personality from me does improve classroom performance for them, so here’s one to work on…

4 comments on “New (School) Year’s Resolutions

  1. Why, Lord, why? Why do you afflict me with all of these marketers who see my blog as a convenient excuse to advertise their stuff?

    And why don’t they try harder to relate their wares to the actual topic of the post to which they’re ostensibly responding? “Great post on the evolution of dialectic in Indo-European, Huston. Speaking of which, have you tried our corporation’s new tomato slicing device?”

    And why do I keep publishing them?

  2. Jamie,
    It is gratifying to read your list because it lets me know that you are one fantastic English teacher. We sorely need them, as you know.
    I hope that in some way I contributed to that, although from what I remember about you as a student, it was already all there.
    Nancy Maheras

  3. I don’t know why anyone would go around spreading vicious compliments about me, but I categorically deny them all!

    More seriously, I’ve always felt that you can gauge someone by the quality of their friends and their enemies, so as long as the lazy thugs resent me and the talented hard workers of the world generally like what I do–and especially if I’ve earned the esteem of those professionals who’ve had to put up with me personally–then I consider my career a success. Thanks, Nancy.

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