The year is over, and you’ve started your well deserved summer. Time to enjoy barbecues, vacation, sunshine and... planning for the next school year. Before any of the conferences, pinning, or looking for the next coolest EdTech products I recommend reflection. While learning new ideas and new strategies from your favorite PLN is valuable, it is also important to evaluate how the previous year went. The best way to become a better educator is through the practice of reflection. While daily reflection is key, looking back over the whole year can make a great difference in how the next year is approached and performed.
I’m not providing you with a specific rubric, or app to do your reflection, because everyone reflects differently, and that’s good! If you need some ideas though, you can find countless articles with questions, and facts to back up the importance of practicing reflection. Personally I take a look at my curriculum (with help from my daily notes) and just look at a few categories, how well the lesson went, student engagement, and were the learning objectives met, but most importantly with each of these asking the question, why? For some of my lessons the phrase “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” definitely applies, so I leave those alone. There are however, some that do need fixed. After spending some personal time reflecting on how I could better those lessons, I turn to my PLN.
With the help of other educators I can get help on those lessons that just didn’t flow well, or needed some engaging tech to really get the students motivated. Perhaps my lessons could even spark new ideas for them! The best part about sharing your thoughts and ideas with your PLN is that everyone benefits.
“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
This may seem like a silly thing to do but you will be amazed at how much growth comes from spending just a few minutes reflecting on each lesson. Crack open your archived lesson plans and simply jot some notes about them, and if there are rooms for improvement, but you can’t quite get it figured out, open up to your PLN.
Before you head to that barbecue this weekend, before you “like” a bagillion things on Pinterest, and before you learn all the cool new things during conference season, start with reflection.