As we go into July, many educators are still processing the past few months, are thinking about the summer ahead (a much-needed break!) and trying to figure out what fall is going to look like….there is a lot going on.
One thing that sometimes gets buried, especially after times like the craziness of the past few months and COVID-19, is self-reflection. One thing to consider though, is that it is a key mindset piece to moving through challenges, growing as an educator and supporting the year ahead.
First, why take the time to reflect?
- It gives you space to celebrate all that you accomplished. Sometimes in the rush to finish up the year, we forget to give ourselves credit for all that we did. For example, the growth of our students, the project that you know had a impact, or your own achievement of developing a new skill such as online teaching, or maybe you learned a new topic or new teaching method. We encourage you to take time to reflect on your accomplishments, acknowledge them and celebrate!
- It allows you to build on your successes. If something went well this year, maybe a new routine for yourself, a unit, a project, a lesson, a remote learning win? Think about how you can build on that success even if it’s a small step forward. Use what you learned to propel you forward.
- It provides an opportunity for you a focus on your own personal or professional learning. If something was a struggle, it doesn’t mean you failed. Often failure can give you space to learn from your mistakes and helps you to find supports either locally or online where you can further your own learning.
- It gives you focus for the next school year. Being self-aware and reflecting can give you a starting point for the following year. It allows you to see where to put your attention. It gives you a jumping off point when you begin to think about planning and organizing.
Now that I’ve shared some of the benefits of reflecting, let’s consider some practical applications.
- Take time to think through some reflective questions (see below), for yourself and journal them out. (Enjoy journaling? Here are some more questions to consider.)
- Partner up with a co-teacher or your professional learning community within your school to share reflections and learn from each other. Consider doing a digital reflection in a collaborative document, or making a quick video for one another using Loom or Flipgrid. Maybe even a virtual meeting using Zoom or GoogleMeet?
- Collectively, create space during a staff meeting or professional development workshop that gives teachers time to talk to one another and reflect on the year. Use these reflections to help decide what needs to be created or changed to bring about improvement.
Think about what works for you, even if it’s just reading through these questions and thinking of the responses (rather than journaling them) it’s a start! Consider connecting with others on your own to share reflections and learn collectively, as this opens the doors for even more growth as you learn from and support each other! Build your own personal learning network.
Some reflective prompts to consider:
- What are you most proud of this past year?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What did you learn about your students?
- What did you find challenging about this year?
- Where did you see your students most engaged?
- What was something your students found challenging?
- What was something you tried that was new this year? How did it go? What did you learn from it?
- What is an area you would like to grow in for next year?
- What aspects of remote learning do you want to refine and bring into the classroom?
What are some ways you reflect as an educator? What have you learned from the process? Let us know below!