Most people are in the thick of setting new year resolutions. As a teacher, you’re probably soaking up those last sacred days of winter break. You made your resolutions and updated your goals and habits in August or September – the true “new” year. However, it’s actually good to jump on the “New Year New Me” train and update your plan for school.

As a high school teacher, perhaps your spring semester begins this Monday or at the end of January. Take advantage of this turning point to reset expectations with your students. Remember that honeymoon period in September? You can have it AGAIN this January or February!

This is what I’m thinking about these next few days:

1. What went well Fall semester?

Let’s just say my fall turned out MUCH different than I expected/hoped in September. It was easier to survive through block periods than I’d feared, and I was fairly on top of all my planning.

2. What went badly? What would you like to change?

One of the toughest things for me this semester was to connect with my classes that were entirely new students. I teach at a small school, so I’ve had some of my students in various classes for the past three years. This made online teaching a breeze – we already knew each other. However, I have one class this year full of students I’ve never met in person and who are also pretty reserved to begin with. I’m still brainstorming ways to build class community.

3. Do you have any new classes this Spring semester?

I have a 10-week, 3-hour/week Python elective course I’m starting this semester. There is no overlap between these students and my programmers from the fall, so I can rethink how I want to introduce Python!

4. Do you have any new students?

When I taught in larger schools, I didn’t know about new students until they showed up for class one day. This year, I’ve gotten the heads-up that I’ll have two new students joining physics Monday. This is cool – I get to remind all my other students of the beginning-of-year expectations and plans. BUT it’s also nerve-wracking – starting any class midway through the year is tough, but physics is usually taught SO differently at different schools, I have no idea where my new students will be at in the material or in the math…

Enjoy these new beginnings and these last few days of break!

Yours in resolving,


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