By: Mary Ware for LearnWell
There is something truly exciting and invigorating about the calendar turning over to January 1st. Despite being in the middle of a school year, a new year brings opportunity for reflection and renews commitment to making changes that could lead to personal improvement, increased happiness at work, and making a difference in the lives of those around us.
As a hospital teacher, or someone working with student-patients in an alternative or residential setting, the new year is a great chance to spend time thinking about what has been accomplished over the past year, and create goals to make this next year even better.
Here are a few resolutions that hospital teachers may want to consider, in order to make the most out of their teaching experience.
Take stock of and improve upon organizational systems
Teaching in and maintaining a hospital education program requires lots of moving parts and records. From lesson plans to student files, communication logs and data tracking—with often varying schedules—a good organizational system is a must.
Whether you are a paper and pen type person, or prefer a digital method, take time to evaluate what is working, and what may be lagging behind. Are there tools or tricks to make life easier and tasks more simple to complete? Is all documentation being handled correctly and in a timely fashion? If not, making a goal to get the administrative side organized will make the teaching time more productive and effective.
Find meaningful ways to connect with the rest of the team
The work environment varies from one facility to the next, and so can the team that teachers may be a part of. For some, they may play an active role in regular treatment team meetings, while other may be more involved with the student’s home district than personnel at a facility. Still others may find themselves part of a remote team with lots of different players.
Finding ways of connecting with a team, no matter how or whom it is made up of, will help foster greater relationships and a happier work environment. Setting a goal to learn something new about one colleague a week, or to have a short conversation with other team members about their thoughts and priorities related to a student-patient, is a great way to build community and to foster professional collaboration. Doing something nice for a team, such as a surprise treat as a thank you for their hard work, also goes a long way!
Refresh old content and fill gaps with innovation
As a teacher, it can sometimes feel natural, and let’s be honest, easier, to reteach lessons year after year using the same techniques and ideas. While developing strong lessons that are consistent and can be reused is a goldmine of content for teachers, finding small ways to add to the context or change up delivery style can be fun for both students and teachers alike.
A good place to start is to find a lesson that is a crowd favorite, and see what conclusions can be drawn from that. Is is a certain activity or presentation that keeps everyone engaged? If so, how can that idea be applied to other lessons that seem to be missing the mark? Additionally, finding the gaps in content or open slots in lesson planning, and use innovative methods like Project-Based Learning or incorporating Mindfulness or Educational Technology may help keep students interested.
The start of a new calendar year is a great time to take a moment to reflect on the current school year, and make a few simple goals to finish the year strong. By incorporating personal goals and ones related to teaching, hospital teachers may just find the systems and endurance they need to make this year the best one yet!