My New Year's Wish for You

I hope you had a lovely holiday, teacher friends! It seems like many have had a difficult 2016 (I hope not you!) and so many are ready for 2017 to begin.

New Year’s is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE holiday. No other holiday gives me the same high—the nervous energy, the joy, the turning of a page, the reflection on what is most important for me to focus my new year on. I may be strange, but I just love the opportunity to start fresh. I get to come to terms with the goals that I’ve left unmet and I’ve got nothing but opportunity in my future.

Like a new school year, we get to start with something unblemished by our mistakes.

I sent a New Year's wish email out to my subscribers, but I wanted to make sure I was able to share my New Year's wish for teachers with everyone, so I'm sharing my wish here as well. Being that goal setting (with students and personally) and fresh starts make me so giddy, I had so many ideas for what to write about.

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And of all the things I could share about New Year’s lessons I’ve done and strategies for goal setting with your students, I decided that I’d just focus my attention on you, fellow #changemakers and teacher friends. Because really, you are the most important factor in our future. And, as you find ways to take better care of yourself, you will be such a better steward of your mission as a teacher.

My New Year’s message for you today is to REFLECT ON THE GOOD.

Reflect on all of the wins you have had so far this school year. Reflect on all of the moments where you said,

“This is really working.”

“This is amazing.”

“My students are so engaged.”

“I’m in my teaching zone of genius.”


Confessions: I am the worst at this and I am the hardest on myself. Maybe you are like that too, and that is why this is my wish for you.

At the start of 2015, I learned a good lesson and perspective for teacher reflection and goal setting that I’d love to share with you. It finally dawned on me that I spent so much time {driven} to make changes in my classroom. I concentrated my thinking on what wasn’t going well because improving those things would make me a better teacher…

And sometimes it surely did… But sometimes, maybe my eager pursuit of doing everything better did not help me meet my goals.

Maybe sometimes I overwhelmed myself with all of my goals...

…I really need to conference more during writer’s workshop, I really need to incorporate more games into my math block, I really need to have my students doing REAL science with experiments, I really need to read aloud more, I really need to use technology more, I really need to get that new thing going…

and on and on and on, until we feel like we are doing nothing right, everything wrong, and we are defeated and exhausted.

Sound familiar?!?

Sometimes all of the things we want to change can drown out all of the things we are doing well.

#truth {Read that again!}

 Teachers are changemakers!

I realized that I would serve myself, my students, and my own professional development better if I took the time to reflect on the good and commit to keeping those things going.

I took the time at the end of the school year in 2015 to brainstorm 10 of my school year highlights and to write about each of them in an “End of Year Highlights” blog post series. It was a priceless experience to look back on the good and I continued many of those highlights into the next year.

A New Year's Wish for Fellow Teachers: a teacher reflects on how to enjoy teaching more and shares a new years wish for all teachers- teacher advice, new year, back to school, end of year |

Now I’m asking you to pause that inner voice today and as the new year is upon us. I want you to think of at least 10 things that you have done RIGHT this year, things that you LOVE about your teaching style, lessons, and routines and those things that get you out of bed and in your car each morning, eager to greet those smiling faces and teach your heart out.

And you know what the best part of this reflection strategy is?

We don’t have to wait for a new year to change our thinking. We can train ourselves to do this at the start of every month, every week, every day.

Training your brain to focus on the good might go something like this...

"I'm frustrated with my math instruction...."

STOP! What's going well?

-Are your students grasping things that were once difficult for them?

-Have you incorporated more manipulatives and hands-on activities this year?

-Have you helped your students change their mindset and learn to persevere through hard things?

I bet you could make an even longer list! I'm even going to bet that there's a topic that you are down on yourself about that you can talk through in the exact same way. What subject or "should-do's" are you beating yourself up about?

I urge you to generate that list of ALL THE THINGS that are GOING WELL in that area. Keep doing those things that are working, and I promise your mental energy and teaching ability will improve! I truly hope that you experience a blessed 2017 and that you are able to give yourself more grace as you focus on the good!

If you are looking for goal setting ideas to use with your students, my email subscribers receive a set of growth mindset journal pages and activities for free. Introducing or revisiting Growth Mindset is perfect for getting back into the swing of things and setting off the second half of the year on the right foot.

I also created a  New Year's teacher reflection tool that walks you through a brainstorming process to help you #focusonthegood in your classroom. You can grab this too when you subscribe!

If you want to specifically focus on Goal Setting and Achievement, you can click to see what I did during a week's worth of goal setting lessons with my students.