Many of us have just ended the school year or are nearing the end of the year. Time to start thinking about summer fun in the sun, vacation and spending time with family. But, if you are like most effective teachers, you are also thinking about your school year and wondering what you could have done differently! That doesn’t always mean better, just what do I want to change for next year to make an even more significant impact on my students.
Reflecting is the process of self -observation and self-evaluation. Asking yourself what do I do in the classroom, why do I do it and, more importantly, does it have the desired impact on my students. Reflective teachers evaluate throughout the year (actually hourly and daily), but summer gives you an opportunity to look at your strategies, lessons, even your classroom policies to determine their impact in the bigger picture.
A few years ago I was part of a leadership team that wanted to help teachers learn to reflect on their teaching practices. I was surprised to learn that many new teachers (and some veterans too) saw reflection as a time to beat themselves up – look at all the things they did “wrong”. A true reflection is one that looks at the overarching goal and asks, is what I’m doing moving my students and myself in the direction of the goal? Reflection is not meant to be a personal attack or make teachers feel like they are not good enough. It is meant to help you refine your craft of teaching in the same way a basketball player reflects on his shots to determine what he needs to change/improve in order reach the goal of making the basket.
Just as we ask our students to reflect on their learning, I encourage you to reflect on your teaching practices.
As I leave you today, here are some questions you can ask yourself about your year…
1. What are the things that went well this year?
(Don’t forget to do this, teachers sometimes look only for the things they did “wrong”.)
2. Did my students meet the goals I set for them at the beginning of the year?
3. What teaching strategies increased student engagement and learning?
4. Are there any Professional Development workshops I can attend during the summer or books I can read that will help me refine my craft?
5. What is one new strategy or idea I will try next year?
Leave a comment and let me know one thing you loved about your year!