There are many times when we put ourselves on auto pilot and cruise through our lives day after day without a second thought of what we did and how it went because its easy to get into a comfortable routine and not reflect on what we do, how we do it, and what we could do to make it better. I know I’ve been guilty many times of getting into a routine without a second thought as to what I could do to evolve and keep life fresh and exciting. In the words of Yes Theory, we don’t Seek Discomfort enough, but we can start by beginning to reflect a little bit more and make small changes.
When we begin teaching, it takes some time to figure out what we want to do and how it fits our standards, our curriculum, and our kids. Then, once we find that niche, that way we teach, sometimes we stick to that road and lose the reasons why we are on this road and sometimes forget to re-evaluate what our audience at the time needs. Reflecting every step of the way is important to the process whether it is a quick thought of “How did that go?” to writing out blog posts like this. (When I was in the classroom I literally reflected on my week every Friday on this blog!) Don’t forget to not only reflect on what your lessons were like, but also reflect on yourself and reflect on your students. It’s about everything that creates your environment. It could lead to elevating your lessons to a whole new level and bringing the excitement of learning every day.
Need some ideas on how to reflect on your week? Why not try these,
- After every day or every lesson, write 2-3 sentences on how the day went and how you felt into a journal. At the end of the month, re-read what you wrote and think of 1 thing you are going to change as you go into a new month of teaching and learning.
- Have a smaller bulletin board or whiteboard out of direct sight from students and keep a post-it note pad and pencil handy. Write a short sentence about how your day went, how you handled a particular activity, or maybe a new idea to try later with the date on the back and post it to the wall. Take some time right before every school break to go through them and read what you have wrote. Find two things you know you need to improve on and 1 new idea and implement them when you get back to regular lessons.
- Get together with some friends during a PD day, come up with a few reflection questions like, how to implement the new standards that were just released, how to avoid burn out before the end of the school year or ideas for using the new Chromebooks the library just received. Put each question on a large piece of paper and put some time on the clock. Have everyone idea vomit onto each piece of paper. Take some time reviewing each question after as a group to reflect and get ideas from each other.
- Take a friend out for coffee and talk shop with each other! Make it a constant thing. I have found setting a Google Calendar invite keeps everyone coming back.
- GO TO A CONFERENCE! One of the best ways to get so many new ideas and reflect on your own practices in a short amount of time. Make sure to meet up with friends (or new friends!) for dinner or drinks to chat about the day and reflect on what you learned and how you’ll use it in your classroom!