New year, new beginnings and a fresh start

New year new beginnings

As the festive season marks the end of the autumn term, it also marks the beginning of a new year and a new term ahead. Time to review, revise, resolve and reboot. A chance to take stock of your teaching practice so far as you spring into action, preparing for the inevitable assessments ahead.

Much of the first term is about getting to know your learners, building group dynamics, getting routines and ground rules established, helping learners make the transition from school to college as much as it is about supporting your learners make in-roads into a new level of study, a new subject or vocational area.

Review your learners

The spring term is an important point in the year to reflect on how well things are progressing with your group(s). Below are some questions that could help you begin the reflective process:

  • what you have learnt about your learners as individuals/as a group?
  • what’s going well?
  • what isn’t going so well?
  • what do your learners enjoy?
  • what do they find more challenging?

Review your planning

You may find that your reflection at this point in the year is an opportunity to review your scheme of learning and revise what you initially planned. So often we plan our courses before meeting our learners as a group, so now you know more about your learners take the time to make any changes. You may also find that this is an opportune moment to make some important changes to the group dynamic if there are issues with this aspect of your practice. You could consider factors such as room layout, pairings and managing group activities as well as reflecting on your own interaction with learners.

Review your teaching practice

Reflection could also relate to the approaches you use in your teaching:

  • how well are they responding to the resources and activities you have planned?
  • how well are they completing self-study tasks?
  • how well are they progressing in their assessments?

Review your well-being

Teaching is demanding work and teachers invest a lot of time and energy into it. Therefore, you can also use this time to review how well you are managing your workload and to review your work practices. However, be kind to yourself, so, begin by taking note of what you bring to your teaching: your strengths, skills and positive qualities. Your work-life balance is vital in managing workloads. Perhaps consider setting yourself limits to your marking and planning time.

The other aspect of yourself which may need consideration at this time is your own professional development. Review your goals for the year, for the autumn term and set some goals for this new term which is about to begin. Achieving these goals helps you to feel you are moving forward in your own teaching and meeting your personal professional needs which is an important part of your sense of professional well-being.

Hopefully, time for reflection at this important juncture in the academic year will help ensure you have a happy new year.

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