I don't usually do New Year's resolutions, because in my experience they've never been anything more than an abject failure, but there's no better term for the stray thoughts that've been crowding my mind as I stand on the cusp of a new school year. So here they are: my New Year's resolutions with respect to being a teacher again.

1. Do not write snarky or cutting remarks in the margins, not even for the most insipid or ill-thought out of essays.

I used to really let myself go, ranging from a simple "DUH" (sometimes underlined as well) to an archly inquiring, "Of course the solution to world poverty that's simple. That's why no one's thought of it before" to entire essay-length responses that took up every last available space on the student's paper. Apparently, such comments can be too overpowering for some students' sense of self-esteem. Personally, I think it builds character. At any rate, in the spirit of peace-on-earth-goodwill-to-men, I'll confine myself to a boring tick-tick-cross routine from now onwards.

2. Speak more slowly, so that the students actually understand what I'm saying.

I speak like a runaway locomotive most of the time, especially when I get excited or upset about something. I don't mind repeating myself if the kids don't catch it the first time, but the thing is, I should speak moderately enough that the kids can catch it the first time.

3. Do more work in school and bring marking home less often.

I know all the teachers reading this are scoffing already, but I really don't want to decline social invitations on the weekend --- or even on weekdays --- because "I have to mark". It's almost as bad as, in the previous job, having to cancel plans because "something urgent just came up".

4. Keep my cubicle neat and the piles of paper manageable.

It's my mother who would scoff if she read this, because she is wise and knows me well. Nevertheless, I will try. I did passingly well after swopping cubicles at the previous job. The key, I think, is to file diligently and abhor all isolated sheets of paper.

5. Don't sit on the teacher's table when wearing a skirt, even a long one.

There are teenage boys around, you know.


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