As another year draws to a close, most of us teachers are slightly torn.

While most of the world is ready to hit the ‘reset’ button, those of us in education are still looking at the back half of a school year.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take this time to make a short inventory of where we’ve been, and some goals for where we want to go and how we want to improve.

With this in mind, I submit to you these suggestions for all music teachers to consider for your New Year’s Resolutions:

Make yourself some space.

If you can, do it in one or both of these ways:

○ find a little physical space in your office or classroom where you can put pictures of things or places you love, thoughts or quotes that help you feel more relaxed or centered, or even just a favorite mug or trinket. Something that you can look to when everything feels like it’s falling apart.

○ make a little space in your schedule to be alone and be silent. Try for 10 minutes a day- even if that means waking up just 10 minutes earlier than you’re used to. Use this space to reconnect with why you do the things you do, and to just be with yourself. You won’t believe how quickly this one practice will change the way you act and react throughout the day.

Move a little more.

Whether you decide to start riding a bike to your school or just doing calf lifts while standing on the podium, or taking a 5 minute walk during your prep period, make a little more movement happen in your day. Your body and mind will thank you!

Snack regularly.

It can be hard to eat healthy as a teacher- especially when you’re at school by 7am and don’t leave until after 4 and you only have 20 minutes for ‘lunch’ and that’s when you do some prep work…

But keeping your calorie intake regular throughout the day will absolutely change your energy levels, as well as keeping you sane. Trust me on this one! If you can’t keep a handful of healthy snacks at the ready for you to munch on between classes, consider keeping some protein shakes handy. Slimfast or Muscle Milk or the generic whatever…just something you can pop open and chug while your next class is coming in. Give it a try- I know you’ll feel a difference.

Express gratitude.

This is one I think most of us tend to forget, because we’re so caught up all day in doing…everything! But if you take a few moments and jot down some things you’re thankful for, or even write a note to another teacher, parent, student, colleague, staff member, you’re going to see a very positive change in your own outlook and in your relationship with others.

I do this every night before bed- open up the ‘notebook’ on my phone and type in as many things as I can think of that I can be grateful for that day. It’s freaky how much better I sleep and how much more energy I have during the day!

Learn something new every month.

Yes, you can do official professional development, or listen to a podcast, read a book, subscribe to a new blog…as long as it’s something new it will make you a stronger, more confident and more effective teacher.

May I recommend learning Grant Writing, if you haven’t already? Check out my official NAfME PD session HERE.

I guarantee if you even do even ONE of the things on this list you’ll be generally happier and more focused for the second half of the school year- and it will pay off in your teaching, as well as working toward staving off burnout.

As always, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and comments below- because we’re all in this together!