When it comes to the end of the year and the start of the next it’s important as a teacher to reflect on what has happened in the year just gone, and what you want to happen over the next twelve months.
‘New year, new start’ does work, but only if you learn from the old one. What’s the best way to do that? Both reflecting and planning so you get the best out of your teaching job. Here are our top five ways to reflect on 2022 and set new year goals for 2023.
Create a ‘wins’ list
This is something that is easier if done as you go, but does work reflectively too. Set up a document on your computer so that every time something goes well, or you get good feedback, you write it down. This is great for giving you a good mood and confidence boost when things get you down in your teaching job, but is also really motivating at the end of the year when you look back and see how well things have gone.
Acknowledge the challenges
It’s important to note where things got hard and challenging - but not to ruminate or dwell. Instead you should note down a challenge and then what you did to overcome it, the skill you used, and the lesson you have learned. This helps cement that in your brain and means you can look to use these techniques again in the future. With so many teaching jobs being fast paced it’s really important to develop almost automatic feedback loops that enable you to respond in the best way in the moment.
Journal it out
A journal is such a useful tool in reflective practice, and can help you explore ideas and thoughts that in busy teaching jobs you just haven’t had time to look at yet. Sit down with a nice notebook, a pen and a glass of wine or cup of cocoa and spend some time writing about the year just gone and the one to come. What was good about 2022? What did you enjoy? What did you learn? What are you looking forward to in 2023? How will you build on 2022? What do you want to achieve? Answering these questions in a non judgemental and open way is a great way to really get under the skin of what has made your teaching job both brilliant and at times challenging, and how you want things to be next year.
Create a vision board
A really fun way to plan for the new year is to create a vision board. It might sound a bit wacky and woo for some, but it’s a great way to set an overall ‘feel’ for the year, alongside some more tangible ideas of what you want the year to look like. Simply grab some magazines, scissors and glue and create a vision of your best year yet.
Don’t overwhelm yourself
It’s easy to think that come January 1st you’ll be able to transform yourself instantly. But great goals require tiny steps to get there. Too often people make lots of new years resolutions, and then give them up after a couple of weeks as it’s just too much. So think about the small wins. If you want to be healthier, try making your own packed lunch. If your big vision is to be less stressed, download a meditation app. If it’s about being prepared for a class, can you block out lesson planning time? From little things big achievements are created.
Set smart goals
SMART goals have been being used in business for decades, and for good reason. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. So be very focused (specific), have targets to show improvement (measurable), make sure they are within your reach by actions you can actually take (achievable), that they are truly something for you and your lifestyle (relevant) and that you have a target date (time bound). So a great one might be ‘I want to be less stressed about my teaching job. I know this because I will not wake up in the night. I will help myself by going to be at a good time. I will have restful nights 4 times a week by March.’
So as you toast in 2023, take the time to look back at the last year and how far you’ve come, and think about where you’re going. Cheers to that!