Any dream will do

4th January 2008 at 00:00
Professional and personal resolutions are worth making in January. Give yourself a fresh start.

The first week of term offers a chance to shake things up in your classroom. Pupils often push at the boundaries as Christmas approaches; this is the perfect time for a fresh start.

Begin with how your room appears, challenge pupils' perceptions when they return from holiday. Rearrange the furniture, tear down old displays and reorganise your seating plan.

Give a chance to those pupils who misbehaved last term. If you expect things to continue unchanged, they probably will. Offer a clean slate, acting surprised if they don't take you up on it.

Take a long hard look at that pile of paperwork labelled "to do", resolving to "do" it for good. Set aside an hour and handle each piece of paper only once. Be brutally honest: does it make you cry to think of throwing this away? If not, get rid of it.

Have a spring clean of your resources. Don't save things "just in case" you might need them. Keep only what you have used in the past year.

While you are at it, make some personal resolutions. How about: get to the staffroom at breaks, no marking on weekends, don't shout at the children. Well, there's no harm in dreaming

Sue Cowley is an educational author, trainer and presenter. Her books include Guerilla Guide to Teaching (Continuum). For more information, visit

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