What I Won’t Do This Year

In a stack of papers called Reform.

  • Aug
  • 15
  • 2009

Collect writing and then ignore it for a month. Expect study questions answered every night. Give daily reading check quizzes worth tons of points. Skip grading blogs on a Saturday morning. Wait until April to institute a classroom after-school writing lab. Circle every single grammatical error on a given page. Assign just one piece of writing that involves student conferencing and that happens to be the last piece of writing. Take rebellion personally. Only phone home about negative behavior. Try to institute fifteen new things. Start a “routine” that we only do twice. Break a routine that we’ve done many times. Hand papers back as a way of finishing the discussion about that topic or student writing. Call them “essays.” Continue a practice I know isn’t helping improve skill simply because I can’t think of anything better. Ignore the Speaking and Listening standards just because they aren’t tested and are not “power standards.” Obsess over standardized test prep. Rally around the STAR and CST tests. Provide my students with an excuse to blow off my class, other classes, testing, or school. Model expectations only once and then expect perfect execution. Require only written expression of comprehension. Spend far too long on a given text. Focus on merely a few writing and reading types. Unveil the writing prompt only at the end of the text/unit.

And on and on.

Have you thought about this? Have you mentally gone over how last year worked for you? Have you considered the list of things that you want to make sure you avoid, things that didn’t quite work the way you wanted them to? What made it to the top of your list?


1. JasonP says:

[8/15/2009 - 3:19 pm]

What I won’t do:

Allow grading to cover my desk. Spend more than 10 minutes a day thinking about make-up work. Participate in teacher complain-a-thons. Skip all the band concerts. Put off calling home with concerns. Put off calling home with praises. Check my school e-mail more then twice a day. Eat a school hot dog. Beat myself up when kids don’t do homework. Treat every essay to be graded as a colossal weight on my shoulders.

2. Todd says:

[8/15/2009 - 8:16 pm]

Yeah, checking email every 10 minutes is a problem for me because it prevents me from getting much more important things done but allows me not to feel guilty about it. And I also need to go to more school activities. Great additions, Jason. I’m digging your comments.

But what do you mean about the make-up work thing? And how do you think you’ll be able to avoid spending more than 10 minutes a day on it?

3. AtlTeacher says:

[8/16/2009 - 2:39 pm]

Fab list, Todd. I thought I was the only one.

4. geek.teacher » Blog Archive » What I won’t do this year says:

[8/16/2009 - 3:21 pm]

[…] Totally stealing this idea from Todd Seal. […]

5. Todd says:

[8/17/2009 - 7:34 pm]

The only one, what, AtlTeacher? I’m curious which ones of those things you can identify with. Have you kept a list like this in the past? Can you say the top 5 things you plan not to do next year? Glad you like the list!

6. Tom K says:

[8/22/2009 - 6:24 pm]

You’ve covered everything I can think of, except…
Scribble down teaching ideas during the course of the year and never refer to them until it’s too late or lose them so I can’t find them for next year. Think of ways to update some handouts but decide it’s not worth it and hand out the old ones instead. Say I am going to do a much better job with student writing this year and don’t. Read all the passages out loud in class because I don’t think we have enough time for the students to read. Create a list of things I will do but don’t even look at the list.

7. Simon Oldaker says:

[8/24/2009 - 3:33 am]

“Participate in teacher complain-a-thons” :-) Avoid re-arranging the furniture in classrooms because it takes too much time. Forget to stagger assignments so that all my classes submit work at once. Turn a blind eye to off-task behaviour. Wait too long to react when students are absent.

Give up.

8. Kari says:

[8/26/2009 - 10:28 pm]

Things I won’t do: Put off addressing tardies/skips until they are unbearable (call home sooner?). Put off grading until it’s a pile of mythological proportions. Allow negative talk in my class.
Things I will do: enter homework grades in the gradebook as soon as possible. Return quizzes within two days, tests within 5. Figure out how to deal with makeup quizzes in AP classes because it’s those students who miss all the damn time.
Hmmm. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what I’m faced with now.

9. Dawn says:

[10/10/2009 - 4:01 pm]

Thanks Todd!! The email thing is something that really gets me off track. I’m so glad that I stumbled on this blog. It is my first and what a relief to know that I’m not the only one that thinks about these things. I’m in my second year of teaching and my second year alone and no mentor. So this is nice to learn from.

10. Todd says:

[10/10/2009 - 4:39 pm]

You got it, Dawn. That’s terrible that you have no mentor. No other teachers you can turn to on your campus? I’m incredibly glad that I can even offer you a part of that support. Can you think of one thing you did last year that you want to make sure you either do or do not do this year? What have you done so far that’s working for you and what have you noticed is a repeat pattern of something you want to avoid?