English communication in Graz, Austria
It’s a bit late to chime in about New Year’s resolutions, but since I spent New Year’s Eve on a beach in Florida, soaking up sun and time with my family, this week marks the beginning of the working new year for me.
One of the best things about being a teacher is that you always have new beginnings – every September, every January, and often in between as classes end and new ones begin. My dozens of students also provide tons of feedback to help me improve from semester to semester. So now, with a new year AND some new classes starting up, here is how I vow to make 2013 better than ever:
1) Carve out time to read, and defend that time. It’s so easy to get sidetracked with other work, errands, emails, etc. But reading makes me a better teacher, provides me with relevant lesson ideas, and simply makes me happy. So in addition to “fun” reading time, I will try to read a magazine or newspaper (instead of my email) every morning at breakfast and every night before bed (even if it’s only 10 minutes).
2) Swap ideas with colleagues at least once a semester. Last year I had a great time swapping lesson ideas and materials with two of my friends who also teach English. It’s so helpful to share what works – and learn about things I thought would NEVER go well, but they said were great!
3) Do anything other than teaching. I find that I get the MOST ideas when I am doing anything other than teaching. With my translating and editing I am exposed to a lot of ideas from all kinds of industries – also a source of great ideas. But the most concentrated burst of creativity came last February, when I worked for a friend at the Berlin Film Festival. Somehow, just doing something completely different with a friend who is NOT an English teacher and doesn’t speak German or live in Austria gave me tons of new ideas for teaching. Life is funny that way. 🙂
4) Renew my subscription to The New Yorker. After picking it up from time to time while living in New York and Connecticut, I started reading religiously after moving to Austria. For those of you who don’t know it, The New Yorker has some of the best writing of any weekly magazine. It’s the kind of magazine in which you can pick up an article that would never interest you elsewhere, but after the first paragraph you are hooked and end up learning something new.
5) Use the blog more! This is a bit of self-promotion, but I need to post more and use the blog with my students. Hey, we are well into the 21st century after all… 😉
I would love to hear from you – any tips on keeping your resolutions? What would add to this list?