As teachers throughout the land contemplate the start of the new term, and the start of 2016, I would like to suggest some New Year's resolutions which might help hard-working and busy teachers begin the New Year with a smile.
- Ban marking on Sunday evening when Downton Abbey, Homeland or some other brilliant drama is on TV
It is quite enjoyable to watch the TV without a pile of books close at hand, and it can often provide useful references to discuss with pupils the next day.
- Go to the gym, instead of paying your monthly membership without ever using it
Don't just go in January when you are filled with health and fitness evangelism, build it into your weekly routine. You will soon feel the benefits, and your colleagues and pupils will see a more energised and happy you.
- Have that big classroom clear-out you’ve been promising for ages, and change your displays more regularly
A couple of hours of rigorous decluttering after school can be very cathartic and will certainly improve your classroom environment. Get the black bags out and be ruthless.
- Plan for review meetings
Resolve to think of something in advance for your performance management targets, rather than coming up with a personal target during the actual interview with your line manager.
- Slow down in lessons, and check pupils really do understand what you’re teaching
Are they actually absorbing the information or are they just regurgitating that information when assessed? Teaching at a fast pace does not always mean that children learn at a fast pace.
- Get through meetings without using the time honoured phrase: “This would be good for Ofsted”
Why not do things because it is good for the children and for the school rather than because it might suit the inspectors' current agenda – whatever that might be?
- Resolve to be positive in your work
Teaching is a great job, full of variety, hugely rewarding and a career for optimists. If you didn't think that you could improve the lives of young people then you wouldn't have come into the profession in the first place. So stay positive, inspire your pupils with a bright, cheery attitude and enjoy your vocation.
The writer is a teacher in the West Midlands