A new year often brings a new focus. Typically, this focus comes in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Often our New Year’s resolutions center around personal promises to ourselves, our family, or our wellbeing. It is rare that our resolutions center around professional qualities.
As educators, our work never ends. A successful educator reflects regularly. A successful educator applies that reflection and continually tweaks and improves their teaching.
However, even the most successful educators can fall into their old habits and place the value of reflection to the side. We may begin to teach the same lessons, with the same methods, while expecting a different result.
While there are occasions when we move from reflection to action, reflection must be a continual aspect of our professional life.
What are some easy methods of reflection for educators? Here are a few, simple ideas for you to get a jump start on reflection in the New Year.
Working together with your faculty and realizing the gifts of your coworkers is invaluable. Take the time to observe in a colleague’s classroom. Something you see may give you a new idea. A culture of collaboration could be fostered through engaging with one another in their classroom. What often happens through peer observation is that both educators grow with each other.
It is powerful to be able to put your thoughts to paper. So what should an educator journal about?
- Perceived problems in the classroom and possible solutions.
- Triumphs! What went well today?
- Quotes. Come across an inspiring or uplifting quote? Write it down! I keep a long running list of quotes in the Notes app on my phone. This could come while listening to a podcast while I’m walking, watching a TV show, or reading a professional article.
I will have a future blog post on journaling.
Choose an area in which you want to grow as a teacher. Find books, articles, and blog posts on that topic. Read up on it for weeks and focus your efforts on that particular area.
One helpful reminder, don’t make your topic too broad. When you choose an area of growth, be specific as possible. Narrow the scope of that growth initiative to aid in your overall success. For example, rather than choosing to improve on classroom instruction, focus on how you are going to increase hands-on activities within the classroom. This will give you a clear path to improvement.
Make it your professional New Year’s resolution to be a reflective educator. An educator who not only grows during the summer months but throughout the entire year.
Other blog posts regarding the reflective teacher.