"I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My Friends, I don't feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead." -Philippians 3:12-13, CEV
Imagine a football or basketball team playing an important game. The team is prepared and has a game plan. The team executes the game plan the first half of the game. Then, at half-time, the coach and the team reconvene for a short time to examine the first half of the game.
What did the team do successfully? What and where were the gaps that may have hindered the team's progress during the first half of the game? These are all questions that the coach and team must consider before they play the second half of the game.
The team then can make the necessary adjustments in their game plan and head to the court, or ball field to play the second half of the game. The ultimate goal is to win the big game.
For teachers, educators, home school parents, and anyone else involved in the K-12 education of children and youth, the beginning of the new school year usually begins in August or September. Therefore, January, which begins the new year becomes the half-time break. It's a time to pause and reflect.
Typically, the New Year is a time when people, young and old, create resolutions to stop old habits and create new ones. It's a time when people attempt to become more focused and set goals that they want to achieve in the upcoming year.
Like the sports analogy above, the New Year is a great time to take a short break from the hustle of the classroom and reflect on the first part of the year. Which of your instructional practices were successful? Which ones need to be developed or fine tuned?
How effective was your classroom management or behavior plans with your students and kids? Did it allows you the freedom to teach and run a good offense in the classroom, or were you playing defense the whole first half just trying to survive?
During the first half of the school year how organized was your classroom? Do you still have cluttered work areas and unfinished tasks that need to be completed before the second half of the school year gets in full gear?
Lastly, how was your attitude towards students, your kids, administrators, parents? Have you been a team player or a team slayer?
These are all questions we as teachers, home school educators, and parents should consider as we head back into the classrooms or as our students and kids head back.
January is the perfect time to look back at our successes and failures from the first half of the school year. Then, we can move forward by continuing our classroom game plans, making the necessary adjustments that are crucial for success of our students and kids.
Finally, we need to implement the strategies and instructional plays from our teacher game book with laser-like focus and consistency, until the buzzer rings on the last day of school.
No matter how you did the first half of the school year, celebrate your successes, leave the rough patches behind, and move forward for the remainder of the school year. You can do it. I believe in you!
Get the New Year off to a great start by grabbing your free copy of my 5 day E-Course, "5 Secrets to Creating a More Efficient Classroom Environment." Just fill out the form on the upper right hand corner on this page. Your first lesson will be delivered to your email in-box immediately!
Antoine McCoy is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher as an Exceptional Needs Specialist working with children with mild to moderate disabilities. He has taught children in all grade levels (K-12) in Public and Private Schools (general education, inclusion, and self-contained classes) and worked with homeschoolers. He currently is working as a Learning Resource Specialist in a high school setting.