Over the past couple of days, I have heard from most of my coworkers about their reflections and thoughts about the school year. We were asked to reflect on our journeys throughout the year: as educators, as communicators, as researchers/scholars, and as leaders. It was really interesting to see the various ways in which teachers expressed their reflections and the things that stuck out to them in the above categories.
I, personally, had a difficult time reflecting on the categories. It’s one thing to generally judge whether the year went well or not (it did, compared to previous years) but it’s a different arena to actually get into depth with reflection and think through the aspects of myself that fall into the categories asked for. Eventually, I was able to split each category into strengths and goals and break down my developments and setbacks bulletpoint-by-bulletpoint. This helped me better structure my reflection and also better understand what this year had given me.
I wasn’t the only that mentioned having a difficult time at first. So what is it about reflection that makes us fearful and anxious? What is it that makes it so hard to thoroughly think through who we are, in the classroom and outside of it?
The first thing, I think, is that many educators don’t have a habit of reflecting in a structured way. We all definitely think about our classes and lessons and what needs to happen for the next ones, but how many of us actually sit down and thoroughly analyze what we did well and what we need to make better for the next time?
Secondly, there are so many tiny little things that make up a classroom and a lesson that sometimes it’s just overwhelming to have to think through all of them (almost impossible, in fact). Many of us are lacking a list of prompts or a simple chart to help us think through the basics so that we can delve into details later.
Thirdly, I think that true reflection demands a conversation. If I was to talk through my lessons and classes with a coworker and get ideas and solutions from more than just my own brain, I think I’d be better able to really understand my classroom and myself as a teacher. It helps to talk through ideas; it is a clarifying and enlightening act.
Our office is now hoping to implement a structured pair reflection program for the next school year so we can build our reflection skills together and ensure we are consistently thinking through our actions as teachers. Just the thought of being able to sit down and talk through lessons and classes with a dedicated partner makes me excited and gives me the hope of more significant improvement in my teaching capabilities. Let’s hope it works out!
If you, as an educator, have thoughts on reflection, please leave ideas and comments below!