This week marks our final instalment in our End of the Year blog post series.
This four-part series discussed:
Some of the most important things we can do as educators are to help students learn to reflect on their new learnings and experiences. I try to work reflection into various assignments throughout the year, as well as a major push during the last month of school.
As teachers, we also need to take the time to really reflect on our year and think about what we need to Stop, Start and Continue for the following year. When we evaluate our current teaching practices and ideas – we make room for professional growth and seek out development opportunities. Teacher reflection should be done before summer break begins because after a summer of rest and relaxation all of those challenges we had during the school year seem to get forgotten.
I created this one-page reflection graphic organizer to help teachers dig into reflecting about their teaching practices.
When I sat down to write this blog post I used the Stop, Start, Continue graphic organizer to help me organize my reflective thoughts.
Stop: Wasting my commuting time. I want to make it a priority to download podcasts for my long commute. I am in the car over an hour a day – that is a lot of time to listen to podcasts and/or audiobooks.
Start: Scheduling time to exercise. I come home from a day of teaching exhausted – all I want to do is put on my pyjamas and watch TV. This is not good for my physical health! I also need to ask other teachers how they organize make-up work for absent students. Can I get a personal assistant to help me manage all of the forms we have to collect as teachers? (Any suggestions please leave them in the comments below)
Continue: I cannot tell you how my students evolved in their reading skills this year with the implementation of daily silent reading. I kept students accountable through conferences and reading journals. They also became better writers and critical thinkers as they worked through their weekly article of the week assignment. I have linked the photos below to these assignments so you can see what my students worked on this year.
Recently I was discussing this upcoming blog post series with fellow teacher bloggers and they sent me these reflections about the importance of reflection in the teaching profession.
“I recently took several years off from teaching to raise a young family. I returned to teaching this school year. In that time off, I reflected on my years of teaching, of my students, of my successes and failures. One commonality that wove between my happy memories were of those final days of the school year. It makes sense: students are relaxed, you’ve built a community, and summer is almost tangible. As an adult, you can see how these young people have grown over a year, and you can imagine how they will continue to mature. Those final days are happy memories where you can witness the growth of your students and become excited about their futures. As the end of the school year approaches, take some time to appreciate what you have done as a teacher. You have created relationships with young people, you have watched them grow, and you have taught them important skills. You deserve the happiness that accompanies these realisations.” Lauralee from http://languageartsclassroom.com/
“At the end of the year, I think about my systems and how they can be tweaked for improved performance. One system that I am thinking about changing for next year is having students complete a study log before each test. This will allow me to verify that students have actually studied and I can keep it for parent conferences. I may even give bonus points for completing it with a parent signature. I’m also considering creating a small unit at the very beginning of the year to go over basic computer skills in my class. It’s the end of the year and I’m still reminding students how to log out properly. I can avoid this frustration if I tackle it head on next year. I’m always looking for ways to improve and at the end of the year, I enjoy being able to find ways to make the next year even better.” Lisa from Mrs.Spangler in the Middle
“Effective teachers, by nature, are reflective. Most evaluation systems (such as the increasingly popular Charlotte Danielson framework) are moving toward an approach that demands frequent reflection and for good reason. I’ve taught for eleven years, and the one practice that has helped me grow, improve, and become more confident in my abilities is a daily reflection. The end of the year, especially, is the perfect time to look back on choices I’ve made (regarding curriculum, technology, classroom management, parent communication, etcetera) because I can see how all of those decisions played out. It’s a humbling process…this notion of being honest with ourselves and admitting imperfections. But, it’s in the admission of weakness that we can transform our teaching. Reflection gives me the inspiration to create new units and activities, to try or devise new instructional approaches, to better appreciate my students, to find a more appropriate balance between my work life and home life, and to conduct research in areas where I know I want to improve. To me, reflection is more valuable than any professional development session I’ve attended. Life is busy. Teachers are busier. This summer, take time to be still, think about your year, and set goals that will send you soaring into the next academic calendar.” Melissa from http://www.readingandwritinghaven.com/