New year, new you – sticking to those resolutions without burning out

By Natasha Gibbs - 3 Jan, 2020
Education

You’ve had a lovely festive break and the new year is here.

You’ve got a long list of resolutions, promising yourself that this is the year that you won’t let your marking pile up, your displays are going to be spectacular, photocopying will be done at least a week before the lesson, PPA time is going to be more productive than ever, and you will become the most organised and fabulous teacher there ever was.

Whilst this all sounds great in theory (and don’t get me wrong, setting yourself goals in order to grow and improve as a teacher is important), it is vital that you remember these 3 important things in order to actually achieve your goals:

Focus on one or two goals at a time

The problem with the start of a new year is that you have all these wonderful ideas about how to be better and you have a long list of the things you want to change and improve. You feel well rested after the break and you are full of renewed enthusiasm and are raring to get back into the classroom and to start making all these positive changes.

STOP! Slow down a moment and think

What is going to happen if you try and implement all these new changes at once?

You’ll get two weeks into the new year and one of two things will have happened:

  1. You’re keeping up with all your new goals (just!) and you’re feeling accomplished (but also completely and utterly shattered).

or

  1. You remembered just how challenging teaching can be and you just haven’t had the time or energy to make any of the positive changes you had planned.

In order to succeed, pick one or two goals to focus on and work on getting these embedded into your teaching. By focussing your time and energy on just a couple of things, you reduce the risk of getting burnt out and increase the likelihood of actually managing to make a positive change to your teaching.

Take care of yourself

So, you’ve made all these goals to improve how efficient you are. Goals which are focused on doing, achieving and improving. But have you made any goals involving your well-being?

If not, then it’s definitely important to make some! Being a teacher is hectic and tiring and all too often results in feeling stressed and burnt out. Make a new year’s resolution which is centred solely on taking care of yourself. Set a resolution to put aside an hour a week to get your nails done, spend an evening each week baking with your son, make time to get to the gym, or take 20 minutes at the end of each day to curl up on the sofa and read a good book, whatever it is: Taking care of yourself makes you a better teacher – promise!

Remember that it’s ok not to be perfect

One of the biggest reasons people fail at keeping their new year’s resolutions is that we feel the need to do them perfectly. As soon as we ‘break’ a resolution, we often think of that as having failed and then we give up altogether because there’s no point continuing if you’ve failed, right? WRONG! You only fail when you give up. Life is a balancing act and with everything you are expected to juggle, it’s ok to drop a ball every now and then. Just pick the ball back up (or heck, put them all down for a while if you need a rest!) and then get back to doing what you do best.

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