When I was a teacher, I remember vividly those last few weeks before school let out. Exams, graduations, end of the year parties, packing up my classroom, then, finally, the last day of school! I remember looking forward to sleeping in a couple of days, before starting school or my summer job. Ahhhhh. Summer.
When I became an administrator and had to work through the summer, I was still excited at the end of the year. I could come into work an hour later, sit in my office, and actually get some work done! Plus, we spent a lot of time planning big things for the coming school year.
One of the things I didn’t do a lot of was reflect on the past year. I figured that I could do that in August when I returned to school. So, I’d put the past year behind me and immediately began thinking about the summer ahead or the upcoming school year.
But here’s the thing. Without taking time to reflect first, my plans for the coming school year were already doomed because they were uninformed by the valuable lessons I’d learned.
So, before you kick back and take a much-needed break for the summer, I want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on the past school year. Spend an hour or even a half-day looking back at all that you’ve learned this school year while those lessons are still relatively fresh. That way, you won’t forget the most valuable things you’ve learned and you are less likely to repeat your mistakes next school year.
Here are 10 questions to use in your reflection:
- What were the highlights of this school year? Where did you feel most successful? Where were you “in your zone?”
- What do these highlights have in common? In other words, can you spot a trend that helps you understand when you are at your best?
- What were the low points of the year? When did you feel the most disconnected to your true genius?
- What do those low points have in common? What trends can you spot?
- What did you try this year that you have never done before? What lessons did you learn?
- What do you want to try next year?
- What will you do differently next year? What do you need to stop doing? What needs to be adjusted or refreshed in your practice?
- What are you curious about? What do you want to learn more about?
- Why did you become a teacher? Do you feel that you lived that purpose this year? If so, why? If not, why?
- How have you grown as an educator this year? In what ways do you still need to grow?
Now, share the most valuable thing you learned…
Please feel free to tweet the most valuable thing you learned this year. You can use the hashtags: #csdpowerofwe #whatmatters