As we start a new year we hear so much about resolutions, life changes, altering things about ourselves in the pursuit of better, different, more affirming, more efficient, more effective. Yes, these are all worthwhile goals and, yes, can make huge impacts on your work/life/attitude.
Sometimes though, all of it can be a bit much and we can find ourselves being swept up in the need to do something or change something. As we move into the new year I was reflecting on the old me rather than trying to build a new one. We all have so many things we can be proud of and so much about us that is wonderful (I’m talking both personally and professionally now). Why do we feel the need to try and change so often? Teaching as a profession is hugely guilty of it, searching for that silver bullet that will create miraculous results and make things easier for everyone, but up to now that search has proved futile.
This new year, instead of focusing on what we need to change about ourselves let’s focus on everything that is already good about ourselves. Perhaps this year, more than ever, we just need to give ourselves a break and be consistent in ourselves rather than beating ourselves up over something we don’t manage later on. Our students certainly need consistency, so why can’t we appreciate that we might need it ourselves?
We all want to look forward, but maybe this new year is a time for looking back on everything that marked you as a great teacher and a great person last year and simply resolving to carry on with that? We all achieved something great last year with what we managed to do at short notice, under difficult conditions and a large amount of uncertainty. We all provided for the children and did it in the best way we could. We settled nerves, we caught children up, we rebuild relationships, we retaught boundaries, we made up for lost time, we brought back community, we brought back smiles and laughter to children everywhere.
We need to stand tall and proud in the security of ourselves, our skills, our knowledge and our compassion. – even if we don’t feel those things sometimes. Instead of hunting for some kind of self improvement, perhaps this year doesn’t need a new you, perhaps all it needs is the old one and everything wonderful that it brings.