High School Educators Resolve to Do Better in the New Year

Educators across the country are wrapping up their winter breaks and returning to school with a fresh list of New Year's resolutions. For high school teachers and administrators, 2013 will be about improving their craft and helping students meet their goals.

"My main resolution is to continue to show my students a positive learning environment while fostering the nurturing relationships I have with them," Jenny Michael, a language arts and ACT prep teacher at Seckman High School in Missouri, said via E-mail. "My students show me something new every day and it is one of the best parts of my job, which encourages me to continue educating."

[Find out what 2013 will have in store for high schoolers.]

But to truly succeed, sometimes students need to fail. Mark Westlake, a physics teacher at Saint Thomas Academy in Minnesota, plans to give his students more room to fail in the year ahead.

"I know it sounds terrible, but I believe the greatest student successes are born[e] out of trial and tribulation," Westlake said via E-mail. "I intend to wait longer before answering their questions, I won't handout 'participation ribbons,' and I will refuse to lower my standards. The greatest discoveries were born[e] out of hard work."

Strong teachers can push students past their limits and inspire them to achieve, but even the best teachers need the support of their principal and district administrators. Officials at the Burton School District in California resolved to continue that support in 2013.

"The district governing board, as the community's voice, will continue to provide the professional training, programs and instructional resources necessary to reach our goals," Gary Mekeel, the district's superintendent, told the Porterville Recorder, a local newspaper. "Every teacher and support staff can influence the future. We are committed to each member of our team, and will continue to maintain our staffing to [e]nsure that all of our talent remains in support of every child in our care."

[Learn how teachers put professional development to work.]

To succeed, teachers also need the support of their community. Julie Conlon, a literacy coach at Melbourne High School in Florida, plans to make that her mission for the coming year.

"Instead of just trying to make myself a better teacher by grading papers sooner, I resolve to improve the image of my profession by bragging more," Conlon wrote in a blog post for Education Week. "Focusing on the positives, I will share my stories with family, friends, and strangers. I challenge you to do the same."

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