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Start The Year Free From Shiny Object Syndrome

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

Shiny new ideas and resources at the start of a school year can bring feelings of both inspiration and insecurity. They can help to inspire our plans for the first week or two back, or they can lead us to doubting what we already have planned and make us feel like we should be doing more.

By Samuel Kett

At the start of a new school year or term, there is a good chance that resource companies and online content creators will share some incredible looking ideas and resources with us. Some of our colleagues might also very generously share amazing looking activities and resources that they’re spending hours on preparing during their personal time. However helpful and inspiring this may be, we need to be careful to not add too many new ideas to learn about or time-consuming resources we need to make from scratch to what can already be a challenging time of year.

Your Uniqueness Is Exactly What Your Students Need

There is an endless amount of ideas and resources that we could add to our programs, however, its best to start with what you know works well for students and your style as a teacher. Overloading yourself with other people’s ideas can get in the way of you feeling relaxed and confident with the learning experiences you are facilitating. When you are relaxed and confident, your true and authentic self is much more likely to come through and you’ll have a clearer headspace to focus on relationship building and setting a positive tone. If once you are planned and prepared you have some extra time that you would like to spend on adding new material, then I suggest you just focus on one new idea, strategy or resource at a time.

You Deserve To Start The School Year Rested and Content

It is a very uncertain time for teachers around the world and this is why it’s so important that we focus on rest and positivity as we prepare to head back into the classroom. We shouldn’t need to be burning the midnight oil or missing out on too much personal and family time in order to get ready for teaching. However, if spending time beyond your paid working hours on building and finding resources and planning new lessons is enjoyable for you, then it’s not really work. It’s more of a hobby, and if that works for you, great! However, we need to start letting go of the myth that teachers need to spend countless unpaid hours on planning and preparation in order to be effective. If all of the new resources, lesson ideas and educational websites being shared with you both online and at school actually feels a bit overwhelming, that’s completely understandable. That’s information overload! In my opinion, the best thing to do is to be confident in your own (or team’s) plans and don’t judge yourself against what others are doing. If you do want to add some new ideas, then maybe just look into one or two and put a time limit on it. If you are rested and content as you head into the new school term, then your family, friends, colleagues and students will all benefit.

In Short

The possibilities of what you could do with your students are endless. You will see amazing ideas on social media, in your emails and directly from your colleagues. But you have your own strengths. If making pretty resources is your thing, great! If not, that’s totally fine. I encourage you to move forward confidently with your ideas and planning and carefully handpick a couple of new ideas only if you really want to. You can acknowledge all of the other shiny new ideas as lovely and say “hey mate, good on you, that looks great”, but accept that the possibilities are endless and that your time and positive headspace are more of a priority as you prepare for the new school term. This line of thinking can also come in handy anytime you are planning throughout the year.

Your Turn

Have you recently spent your time designing new resources, learning about a new website to introduce in your program or getting to know a new teaching approach? If so, was this enjoyable for you? Do you often add new things to your program and if so how do you manage this? Have you recently felt overwhelmed or experienced self-doubt due to the amount of planning required and the endless number of new ideas that you “could” implement? If so, it would be great for you to share your experiences with us in the comments section.

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2 Responses

  1. Gabrielle Lange
    01/02/2022
    • Samuel Kett
      02/02/2022

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