George Lucas Educational Foundation

No Day But Today: One-Day Teaching Resolutions

No Day But Today: One-Day Teaching Resolutions

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Silhouette of a person at the top of a hill watching the sun rise

The final line in Finale B of the Broadway musical Rent is “No Day But Today.” Having recently turned 50, those four simple words have a deeper meaning in my personal life and I think they can help us make small changes in our teaching lives, too. On my desk, I have a yellowed copy of Dear Abby’s column entitled “One-Day Resolutions Set Examples All Year Long.” I often reread the column when I’m feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work I need to complete, or want to refocus my energy on what is important. Here is my adaptation of Dear Abby’s resolutions, specifically for teachers.

One-Day Teaching Resolutions 

JUST FOR TODAY, I will focus solely on my students. I will savor the small moments of classroom life and jot down my students’ brilliant thinking in my notebook because, even though I think I will remember their exact words, they sometimes slip away. 

JUST FOR TODAY, I will slow down the pace. I will take my time as I read aloud and leave plenty of time for students to engage in conversations. I will listen when one of my students wants to tell me the never-ending story of how he lost his tooth. I will stop looking at the clock (unless it is time for lunch or specials!) and let the flow of the day guide students’ learning.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will reflect on the learning that has occurred so far this year. I will think back to where my students started and pat myself on the back for everything I’ve done to support them as they’ve grown.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will think about those students “in the middle” who I don’t spend as much time with as those who demand my attention for other reasons. I will spend the day noticing and thanking them for their hard word and kind actions.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will make it a point to chat with a colleague and get to know him or her better. I will check in on the new members of our staff to see how they are doing and ask if there is anything I can do to support them.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will send a note of thanks to a teacher, mentor, or other individual who has positively impacted my teaching life. I know that this small gesture will make a big difference in that person’s day.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will leave my overflowing “school bag” at school. I will go home and do something fun with my family so that I can talk and write about it with my kids the next day.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will appreciate the joys of spending my days surrounded by children. Their smiles, laughter, and boundless energy keep me young. I will remind myself that I’ve been given a precious gift—the ability to shape young lives.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will remember there is “No Day But Today.”

If you were to add a one-day resolution to my list, what would it be?


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Margaret Shafer's picture
Margaret Shafer
Third grade teacher in the Midwest

Here was mine today: Just for today I will cut short my lesson plans to help kids reflect on the day and celebrate small victories.

Maria, I went to one of your sessions at last year's first grade conference and loved it. I shared what I learned with colleagues and passed your book to a friend when I switched grade levels. Your influence goes out like ripples in a pond.

(2)
Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

I like this so much. I think we can get so overwhelmed with all the things we think we should be doing ALL THE TIME and then we're brutal with ourselves when we fall short. I like this idea of a one day resolution. Even I can keep a resolution for that long! I think this piece links well to Katie's The Grit to Jump Hurdles & Grace to Recover From Them (http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/grit-jump-hurdles-grace-recover-them) Edutopia should totally put all of these great things together into a book, shouldn't they?

(1)
Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Engagement Manager

M Smith, I love your resolution. Reflection is so important, and there's more and more pressure to give students less time to do it.

Laura, hmm.... ;-)

Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA's picture
Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA
Advocate, Lawyer, Teacher and Founder of Beyond Tutoring

Thanks @Laura for linking me up! I was just going to write how much I enjoyed this piece! And I have the "One Day More" song from Les Mis in my head with my own resolutions.

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