With the new year now in full swing, it’s natural to want to improve and be a better version of yourself than you were last year. Many people pursue New Year’s resolution ideas such as trying to lose weight, volunteering more in the community, finding a mate or achieving ultimate happiness. Often times these types of resolutions fail because they’re either too unrealistic, vague or far from what the person truly wants as opposed to what he has been conditioned to believe he wants. Being thinner is nice, but are you looking to be thinner because you’re unhappy with your weight or because society says you should be unhappy with your weight? Being able to stick to a resolution is difficult, so setting yourself up for success starts with creating achievable goals and a solid plan of action.
As an online ESL teacher, creating relevant, smart goals to make living and teaching an easier process for both you and your students is a dream that can (and will!) be accomplished with the right mindset. Whether you are a brand new online English teacher or a seasoned ESL pro, the New Year’s resolution ideas that follow are realistic and attainable. Implement a few or all of these New Year’s resolution ideas and become a more engaging, successful, and effective educator.
Top New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Online ESL teachers
- Wake up earlier. Sometimes, getting up an hour or two before you’re meant to can seem like a drag; however, with a light breakfast and a bit of quiet time before class, you may find you have more energy and are able to deliver more vibrant classes. Using the extra time to exercise can also help to increase your energy before teaching.
- Use more TPR. There’s no such thing as too much TPR, Total Physical Response. Using this skill as much as possible can take the edge off classes old and new making it a much more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. TPR helps you convey both simple words and challenging concepts. Sometimes finding the “right” TPR to use can be a bit daunting. Try visiting ALO7’s Youtube Channel or the TPR Library from time-to-time to learn new TPR actions. And, when you feel comfortable with this skill, submit some of your own TPR actions for inclusion in the ALO7 TPR Library.
- Use more realia. Visual learning is probably the best way to learn. Props are helpful in almost every situation if used correctly. Which props you use may vary from class to class and fluency level to fluency level. As a general rule, for younger children, use dolls, puppets, flash cards, or household items to help students visualize their vocabulary in the real world. For more advanced students, often household items, oversized props that prove to be a bit silly, and even family/personal photos go a long way in helping students conceptualize what is being taught on-screen.
- Exercise and hydrate more often. This writer finds that a good stretch in the five minutes between classes goes a long way in increasing energy. A teacher with more energy means a more interactive and energetic classroom. For longer breaks between classes, try going outside for a breath of fresh air or drinking a glass of water rather than a cup of coffee. The caffeine may be nice, but the water is a necessity. Your body will thank you later! After classes, stretch again and go for a walk or do an online exercise video to get your heart pumping. Sitting for an extended period of time may make your muscles feel stiff, so you may even want to take a warm shower to limber them up. Additionally, stretch your upper body when you can. You use those arms for TPR a lot! The Muse offers several ways to exercise at your desk . Give them a try and report back if it helps you feel better each day.
- Review your classes. Perhaps one of the most awkward parts of the job is watching ourselves on playback. Do I really sound like that? What is going on with my hands?! However, committing to do so allows you to critique your teaching style from a different point-of-view than you normally have. It is incredibly eye-opening and can lead to dynamic, positive changes in the online classroom. One thing that has proven very successful for both new and veteran tutors has been to ask others to review their class footage and offer feedback. This may also feel a bit awkward at first, but if you are comfortable enough, you may find that the peer feedback is exactly what you need to advance from being a great teacher to an exceptional one.
Along with these New Year’s resolutions ideas, the ALO7 tutors I interviewed had a few more personal ones to add to the list. Teacher Hermina said, “I’m going to run a triathlon in May, I hate running, but 2019 is all about new goals and getting out of my comfort zone.” Teacher Charity commented, “I don’t believe in resolutions I may or may not keep, but I do believe in making progress towards the best version of me.” Another great New Year’s resolution idea came from Teacher Kegan who said, “Mine is to get ALO7 teacher of the year…” What a great goal, Kegan! Best of luck! This is a goal that all ALO7 tutors aspire to.
A New Year’s goal for online tutors can be anything from changing the lighting in your space to changing your morning routine to doing something completely unrelated, but equally as important, such as running a triathlon! However, it seems Teacher Charity has the right idea; we should all continuously work to become better versions of ourselves, no matter what that may mean. So, what are your top New Year’s resolution ideas?
Gabriel Cunningham, a New York native, is a former pediatric nurse with over 15 years in the healthcare industry, working with hundreds of critically ill babies and children. She and her husband are therapeutic foster parents who, together have cared for numerous medically fragile children in their home until they were ready to reunite with their families. In 2017 Gabriel, also known as Gabby, formally transitioned into online education after over nine years homeschooling her five children from preschool through high school and four years directing her church’s homeschool co-op. She is well-known in her community for her activism in homelessness prevention, youth trauma intervention, and family crisis prevention. Gabby has an AS from Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY and is currently pursuing her Special Education K-12/Elementary Education degree at Western Governors University.
In her spare time, Gabby enjoys reading, cooking, volunteering at church, and providing pro bono doula services to the underserved young mothers in her community. Gabby believes that service to the community is the greatest form of love.