As a teacher I get to make New Year Resolutions not once, but twice a year. Every August marks the start of a new school year and another chance to set goals and intentions for my teaching career and all other parts of my life.
Here are my resolutions for the 2017-2018 school year:
I resolve to create a feminist classroom, for real.
I believe we should all be feminist teachers.
This may cause complete panic for some people. Some people may imagine me creating some man-hating, Communist mini-cult. Those people would be wrong. And some people who agree with the idea of creating a feminist classroom may imagine I’m telling students how they should feel about abortion and Republicans. And those people would be wrong, too.
Creating a feminist classroom, in my opinion, isn’t about telling students how they should vote once they’re old enough to do so. It’s about encouraging them to treat all people with dignity, regardless of gender, race, class, religion, sexual orientation, or ability. A feminist classroom is simply a place that values equality, respect, and representation and makes those values apparent every day.
Furthermore, as an English teacher, I believe one of the best ways to empower oneself is through story, through the written and spoken word.
So in 2013 I started an elective at my school called Women and the Media. This class teaches students how to write for and examine representations of women in today’s media. I decided not to teach this class this year, however, because I’m taking on a new English class. But this doesn’t mean I’m hanging my feminist teacher cape in the closet. In 2014 I committed to creating a feminist classroom not just for students in my elective, but for all of them, and this year I get to truly put that commitment to the test.
I resolve to embrace ritual and routine for the sake of my sanity.
Most people who know me well know that I get bored easily with everyone and everything. While most people despise change, I crave it, thrive in it. This doesn’t mean, however, that I want to live a life of chaos. As a teacher, I need to establish certain rituals and routines so things inside and outside my classroom won’t spiral out of control.
I will clean my classroom, update my gradebook, and email my students’ parents every Friday.
I will plan and prepare my outfits for the week every Sunday.
I resolve to document my #teacherlife.
For years I’ve considered blogging about being a feminist teacher and sharing more of my life as an educator on social media. This year, I’m actually going to attempt to make this happen and, for now, I’ll start here on WriteousBabe.com.
I resolve to become the techie teacher my school already believes I am.
Because I’m under 40 and a blogger, the leaders of my school believe I love all things tech. They even sent me to the International Society for Technology in Education conference this summer in San Antonio, Texas. But despite my love for blogging and social media, I often feel like an analog girl in a digital world. I would have my students turn in their assignments in moleskin journals if I could actually read their handwriting. But alas, I know that going as paperless as possible is good for the environment and that integrating technology in innovative ways can help me spice up old lesson plans and reach all different types of learners.
I resolve to stop sacrificing self-care.
I will exercise every day. I will get a massage every month. And at least one day each week I will do absolutely no work.
Self-care is a feminist act because Audre Lorde said so. Lorde once wrote: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Teachers, what are your resolutions for the new school year?
This post was cross-posted at WriteousBabe.com.