Intentional Teaching in the New Year and Beyond

As we begin a new year, it is easy to throw out the old for all the new. You know the expression: "You can do all things, but you can't do ALL THINGS well!" Bringing intention to your teacher life can give you a feeling of accomplishment. All too often, especially in our profession,  the start of a year is about NEW and IMPROVED. We live in a do this, try that world. We try to "fix" or "redo" too much at one time. What if we switch our mindset around by creating a game plan consisting of a few strategies that could better serve you and your students? Intentional teaching is a way to do just that. We don't have to redo or rethink every area. Let's focus our attention on being intentional with time, co-workers, students, and our own personal life.

Let's start with being intentional with our time. 

 Whether you are at school or at home working, TIME is very important. Here are a few ideas for being intentional when it's time to work:
  • Free yourself of distractions! Put your phone away or shut your classroom door. Work for a set amount of time and then take a small break.
  • EAT the FROG! Mark Twain said, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning." What is your FROG? What thing must be done today? Do it now; don't procrastinate.
  • Make a list! As teachers, we tend to love lists! Whether you have a list started in your planner or you are Queen of sticky notes, do what works for you.

Next, be intentional with your work relationships.

  • Stay positive! This can be HARD given our day-to-day with student, parent, staff, and self-expectations. Find those around you that you can trust. Even if it is only one other co-worker, you need someone you can vent to and let out your frustrations, questions, and ramblings. If you are fortunate, you have a team that is there to let you vent and then those same people (your people) pick you up, brush you off, and encourage you to keep going, to keep being YOU! It's important to not stay down too long!
  • Be the co-worker you want to have. Smile, keep your word, and help others when you can. 

The most important: Be intentional in teaching your students.

What if we took what we already do well with students and made a plan with just that? Plot out a few things within your day and just show up doing what you know YOU do best? I'd call that a win.
Now don't start thinking, "I really don't do anything well." That is not true! You keep 20-30 humans alive every day. You make hundreds of decisions within a day, you teach them, deliver them, feed them, parent them, counsel them, grade at night, stay late for events, and that's just that start of most teachers' lives. As educators, we are always learning new things and we want to try out this and that. While I encourage you to continue to grow yourself professionally, don't throw out what makes you, YOU! 

What is it about you that others think you do well? When are other teachers pointed in your direction for advice or observation? Are you a relationship builder? Are you the master of differentiation or small group instruction? When a fellow teacher needs help with classroom management is your name the one suggested for a consult? 
  • Find your two best attributes as a teacher and let those qualities guide your intentional teaching in your classroom.
  • Being intentional in even the smallest "job" as a teacher can PAY huge dividends throughout the year in student work ethic, relationships, and academic growth! 
  • Find ways to apply your strengths in other areas of your daily teaching life.

Be intentional in taking TIME for YOU!

With all the things, it is sometimes so hard to block off time just for you that has nothing to do with work! You must take time to fill your own cup in order to have a full tank on intentionality for all the other pieces throughout your week.
  • If you can't dedicate a half a day to yourself each week, try to give yourself at least 30 minutes a day to just do what you want to do! Read, go for a walk, surf IG, do something for YOU!
Intentional teaching takes dedication and it's not always fun. There will be days/weeks you fall off the wagon. Please don't stay down! Find a way to get back up or ASK for HELP. Pick a few ways to aim for intentionality throughout your week. Part of being purposed for the week is feeling like you have a plan. If you need resources to help you be intentional, my digital and printable lesson plan templates can help you start and finish your week strong!

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