Rethinking Resolutions: The Impact of Good Teaching On New Year’s Resolution

Rethinking Resolutions: The Impact of Good Teaching On New Year’s Resolution

It’s that time of year again. 2016 has come and gone, and I hope you had a wonderful start to the new year. And I hope that all of your dreams, ambitions, and resolutions come true. 45% of Americans usually make new year’s resolutions and another 17% do so infrequently, which makes the odds likely that you have one in mind, too (according to Statistic Brain).

Most commonly, these resolutions focus on self improvement or education, weight, money, or relationships. YetJust 8% of People Achieve Their New Year's Resolutions. This Forbes article keeps it simple, explaining that the most achieved goals are simple and tangible. USNews also shares five tips to succeeding in resolutions in Why 80 Percent of New Year's Resolutions Fail: Think small, build trust, invent challenges, cultivate optimism, and develop critical awareness.

So what does any of this have to do with education?

The practice of New Year’s Resolutions got me thinking--sure my year starts in January, but it also starts in September. The new school year might as well be the start of my year. In a sense, it also restarts at the end of January after midterms, too. Some teachers even get new students for the new semester and are literally starting from day one.

Let’s go back to the tips from the articles above. In order to have a better chance in succeeding in achieving a resolution--whether it be January 1, September 1, or any random date, you need tangible and achievable objectives, a positive attitude, critical awareness, trust, and challenges. That sounds awfully familiar.

What are resolutions if not goals for achievement? And the best way to achieve these goals is with a good lesson plan. Determine the learning outcomes, decide how the learning will be demonstrated, and then plan the best experiences to achieve the goal. Whether it’s a new year’s resolution or a lesson plan, it’s really all just backwards design.

Infographic courtesy of elearninginfographics
For the past two years, my resolutions came at the end of summer, as I planned for the new school year, reflected on my challenges and successes from the previous year, and set goals for myself and for my students. Each year, I share my classroom shifts (5 Shifts for My Classroom in 2016), and like to return to them throughout the year on my blog and in professional practice.

I do so because I find the reflection essential for growth. I write about and share my experiences to connect with an audience, sure, but also to process and improve my own practice. Because I want to be in the 8% to achieve my resolutions, for myself and for my students. Next time, I'll come back with updates on those shifts and the progress of my resolutions, and set some tangible goals. I encourage you to do the same and to share your thoughts and resolutions here in the comments and on Twitter.

Are resolutions important to your teaching? What are some of your goals for the new year? Share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.

cross posted at

Adam Schoenbart is a high school English teacher, Google Education Trainer, and EdD candidate in Educational Leadership. He teaches grades 10-12 in a 1:1 Chromebook classroom at Ossining High School in Westchester County, NY and received the 2014 LHRIC Teacher Pioneer Award for innovative uses of technology that change teaching and learning. Read more at The SchoenBlog and connect on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.