I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for 2020. A new year means new possibilities. Fresh potential is in the air and suddenly we’re all given the chance to break out of our stagnate routines and reach for something better! Of course, this a rather optimistic view of things. Anyone who’s ever made a New Year’s Resolution knows exactly how easy it is to slip back into familiar habits.

Still, just because something is difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Those of us in education understand this better than most, but we too can get bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae of life. So, in the next few days, as your students return from their winter break and you see old habits begin again, make the conscious decision to change. Allow yourself to reset the clock and start things over with solid goals for you and your students!

Here are your 5 teaching goals for 2020:

Be A Positive Influence

Not every student will be returning from a vacation of games and good food. Problems at home, personal insecurities, and fear of the future can haunt many students over the holidays. You can help by making your classroom a positive place where they can learn. Show them they can still improve in areas they’re not particularly strong, and make sure they know that they matter and are worth your time. Above all, remind them that nothing is set in stone, and their future is still in their hands.

Educate Yourself

How do you expect your students to grow and learn if you don’t do the same? Take a little time each month to educate yourself or pursue a new passion. If you want to take a professional approach, you can read books or watch webinars on the latest teaching ideas. However, if you’d prefer something a little more recreational, you could always learn an instrument, run a marathon, or try your hand at origami. All that matters is you step outside your comfort zone and try something new!

Make Connections

No educator is an island. You may have established your vision for the new year, but odds are you won’t be able to reach it by yourself. Start by sharing your goals and ideas with others. Get to know the administration and encourage them to believe in what you’re doing. Network with other educators over cocktails or join teacher twitter to find others who share your passion. Having a supportive community at your back could make all the difference.

Build Awareness for Minority Students

A classroom may look filled from our perspective, but it’s remarkably easy for an individual student to feel isolated and alone. Perhaps they come from a different country or culture? Maybe English is their second language, or they struggle with a learning disability? Whatever the reason, work to become an ally for the minority students in your class. Share books with protagonists from diverse backgrounds or discuss the different traditions people celebrate around the world. Be the teacher who helps students of all backgrounds find their voice.

Accept Failure

This might seem like a strange goal for the new year, but it’s arguably the most important. Everyone loves an inspirational story about a teacher who revolutionized their school, but behind that one instance are a hundred others about educators who tried something and failed. And you know what? That’s ok!

Not every goal will lead to a life-changing event. Maybe you’ll fail to make connections, or your students will slip back into their old routines. That’s okay. What matters is that you learn from your mistakes and apply that knowledge to your next endeavor. Because the truth is, you don’t need to wait 365 days to try again. Each day is an opportunity to set a new goal or reach for a new dream!

What about you? What are your 5 teaching goals for 2020?