Thursday Thirteen--Fifteen it is!

Thirteen Things I want to improve this school year

1. Organization--I say this every year. But, this year I have bought an agenda that (I hope!) will be big enough to include the meetings and lesson plans for the year. I have also "penciled in" specific days where I will re-organize myself. I've got a fairly well-established guilt complex, so I can usually get something done as long as I schedule it.
2. Expectations. Many of the students I have arrive with low expectations--of their teachers, of themselves, and of school in general. I definitely see it as part of my job to show them what they can accomplish, that school is a safe and successful place for them, and that they need to give their teachers a chance.
3. Get more books into my classroom. Make the books "come alive" and encourage my students to branch out.
4. Call home more. Many of my parents are quite difficult to reach. Notes home get lost; phone calls home are never answered; I need to try to be more persistent this year.
5. Stay out of school at least one day on the weekend. Last year I got sucked into a nasty habit of spending a significant amount of my weekends at work. It took a rather stern lecture from my SO to get me to give myself more time at home--and I discovered I need it. The pull to always be working is still there, though.
6. Gather my notes together for some action research this year. I made some stabs at it last year, but I really let it fall apart. I'd like to stick with it this year.
7. Make sure I avoid, or at least minimize, my contact with those of my colleagues who are so tired or sour about teaching that it depresses me. They're not bad people, but it's hard to hang out around them without coming out of it upset about the job--and that rarely helps me.
8. Only collect what I need to grade. I would love to only assign exactly what my students need, but I am struggling a little bit against a culture that really values "rigor" (defined usually as a worksheet)--I will try, at least, to make sure that I assign things that my students will value.
9. Get the papers back faster. Of course, instantaneously would be too slow for some of my students, but I would like to set a five day limit on all grading--within reason.
10. Do more group work. It's very easy to take a class that gets a little wiggly and convince yourself that you need to always be in control--I'm going to try and loosen up a bit this year and see what happens. I'm sure they'll surprise me.
11. Keep up the exercise, even when I'm tired. I really need the relaxation that exercise brings me, and I always end up feeling better when I stick to an exercise schedule.
12. Blog three times a week. I've already written one TT about why edu-blogging is important, and I'd like to keep up the habit.
13. Try and make sure I say "thank you" and pass along compliments. I'm usually pretty good at this, but I would love to make sure it's an instant part of me.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Malcolm
2. Shannon
3. Mama's Moon
4. Denise
5. Erin
6. Gattina
7. Damozel
8. Kristee
9. Jenny McB
10. Shannon
11. Jackie
12. Natalie
13. Clubbs
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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