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?
This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.