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January's Teacher Success Tips

Achieve Your Goals, Plan Spring Break, and Clean (Classroom) House

(Psst, teachers! This is ONE MONTH in my popular 12-month series! See the whole series here and have an awesome year!)

Hooray, you’re here! Happy January, Teachers!

I love being a teacher in January! It’s the halfway mark for most of us, which is absolutely astonishing! Fresh off of Winter Break, students are usually super-refreshed, happy to be in school, and many are eager to learn. The structure of school is a welcome sight, and many students (not all!) often say, “I was ready to come back.”

My batteries are usually recharge, too, because I’ve learned over the years to schedule vacations well in advance! If I don’t schedule vacations, I’m notorious for turning every break into a “stay-cation”. Time away from school, time spent with family and friends – these things often make me feel ready to go back, strange as it seems to “non-educators.”

Therefore, teaching in January is often a joy and it’s one of the fastest months in my opinion. Over the years, I’ve used the following tips to help make January be one of my favorite months in the classroom. I hope they’re useful for you, too!

Check Your Own Progress

If it’s the halfway mark of the school year (WOW), now is a great time to assess your goals and how close you are to attaining them. At the start of the school year, I always have to set professional goals and write them down in my evaluation system.

Now is a great time to look back at those goals and see… “How close am I to reaching them? What’s working, what’s not working? What is it that I need to change in order to hit my target? Was there something that I set out to do but I got too busy in the Fall to complete?”

For example, one Fall I set the goal of re-writing my unit/chapter sequences so that I had more time for review when it came to the year-end final exam. There I was in January and it still wasn’t started, let alone finished. So in my teacher planner, I set aside one prep period per week that I dedicated solely to that task. Believe it or not, I pulled off my goal within one month and was super proud when it came time for final exam review! I trimmed the fat, buttoned up a few units that dragged on a little too long, and was able to achieve my goal, thanks to revisiting it in January.