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5 anti-resolutions for social studies teachers that you should break immediately

I’ve never been a New Year’s resolution kind of guy. New Year’s Day has always been too full of football, Chex Mix, drink, more football, family, friends, traditional Menno New Year’s cookies with blueberries instead of raisins, and then maybe a couple more games of college football. I’ve got no time for resolutions.

But anti-resolutions? Statements designed to be broken immediately? Heck, yeah. I’ve got time for those. Anti-resolutions are perfect for kicking off 2021.

Here’s the deal. I don’t think we sit down often enough and reflect on our practice. And I know January 2021 might not seem like a good time for that. Nine months of pandemic impacted schedules has put all of us in a bit of a cranky mood. I get that.

But in a lot of ways, this is the perfect time to think about the hidden culture and unwritten rules that are part of our classrooms. What’s working? What’s not? When it all gets back to “normal,” what sorts of things really aren’t that important any more (and might even be detrimental?)

I’m convinced that no teacher wants to be ineffective. But I’m also convinced that we sometimes allow things to just happen in the middle of the year because we’ve got so much going on . . . especially this school year. The silver lining of all the Covid scheduling, multiple lesson planning, student attendance issues, missing resources, and clunky tech has been that we have literally been given permission to do things differently. To try stuff we haven’t tried before. Assess learning in alternative ways. Use a variety of resources and materials. To redesign how we do school.

And I know it’s hard to see right now. But your classroom will and should look different a year from now.

So make a few anti-resolutions yourself. Then make plans for breaking them. Need some ideas? Browse five of my anti-resolutions:

never smile meme

Learning is a serious business and should always be taken seriously. And I certainly don’t need to make any sort of personal connections with my students other than learning their ID numbers. Cause social emotional learning has no place in my classroom.

homework meme

Because . . . deep down kids love homework, especially when there is a lot of fill in the blanks. That’s their favorite. Homework equals learning. So lots of paper worksheets and handouts equal lots of learning. Plus it’s so much easier to grade than that new fangled PBL, personalized learning, competency-based learning nonsense.

test meme

The questions will be based on chapter readings from the textbook. All final grades will be based on these test scores. Oh yeah, that . . . and their required homework.

ben stein meme

Just me talking. Kids listening and taking notes in appropriate outline format. And by appropriate outline format, I mean traditional Roman numerals with indented columns. None of that weird sketch noting business in my room. And kids working in groups? Connecting with experts online? Going out in the community? Seriously? I don’t think so.

tech meme

Paper and pencil worked just fine for me and my generation. Yes . . . I have to use Zoom right now. But trust me, once this is over, right back to Xerox copies. No need to text students, contribute on social media, or use online tools for sharing / creating / collaborating / digital storytelling / exploring / synthesizing / connecting / building community with my students.

So . . . that’s my five. What’s on your anti-resolution list?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Richard #

    These anti-resolutions remind of “DItto”, the social studies teacher in Teachers (1984). If I remember correctly he died behind his desk and nobody noticed for several days.

    January 4, 2021
    • glennw #

      Loved that movie! Yup . . . he passed away as his kids completed and turned in worksheets.

      One of the best lines ever was in that movie. After a fire alarm was pulled by a student, one teacher remarked “Half of these kids aren’t coming back.” And the main character replied, “But half of them are.”

      Thanks for the reminder!


      January 4, 2021

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