It’s the end of the year. Time to pack up the classroom and head out for summer right away, right? I know that feeling! The feeling of just wanting to be away from your classroom, lesson plan, and grading for a little bit. But don’t leave too soon! Before you shut off your teaching brain, there’s still one VERY important thing you need to do at the end of the year, and that is to reflect! Being a reflective teacher is one of the most important parts of being a strong, successful teacher!
Being a reflective teacher may or may not come natural to you. And that’s okay! It’s important to make sure to carve out time at the end of each year to actually sit down and think through the last 10 months. Here are some great things to think about when reflecting!
A reflective teacher asks questions
When reflecting on an entire year, there’s a lot to think about. Narrowing down where to start and what questions to ask and answer can be hard! Here are some of the questions I like to ask myself when reflecting at the end of the year:
- How did my relationships with my students impact their success?
- What efforts did I make to connect and support my parents?
- Where did my confidence grow during my instruction and why?
- What strategies did I use that I feel directly impacted my students’ success?
- What is one thing I feel I could have done with more intention?
A reflective teacher looks at data
Yes, I said it. The ‘D’ word. But let’s be honest. If you’re not taking a good amount of time to really look at those end of year scores (whether they are on a standardized test or not), then you need to start! I know test scores aren’t everything and I know the tests are designed completely WRONG – but those scores CAN give us some good information.
They can tell us what common areas our students excel and struggle in. They can show insight to how specific strategies you’re using, are working. They can support upcoming decisions you’re needing to make for individual students or school wide improvements. Face it, data in our profession IS important.
A reflective teacher makes changes
Change is inevitable and change is hard. But educational best practices can change and we need to keep up! I’m always thinking about what I need to change in my classroom, especially at the end of the year. What causes frustration for the students or myself? In what better ways can I differentiate or personalize instruction for my students?
Before I walk away from a wonderful year of teaching, I write down one change that I know I will make for the next school year. The change has to be something that will impact students for the better. Do I need to redo my centers? Do I need to focus on setting more specific goals with my students? What is something that I NEED to change?
A reflective teacher makes a plan
One of the best things you can do before you leave is to make a concrete plan. There are a few unique ways I like to do this. My favorite is to use the “Start, Stop, Continue”. It’s a very easy and concrete way to make a plan during my time of reflection. I think about things I want to start doing in my classroom next year (maybe using some of the answers from questions above). Then I think about what I want to stop doing and what I need to continue doing.
I have some other fun ways to help reflect and make a plan. I’ve got 5 amazing (and FREE) reflection pages you can download to use right away!
I know adding ONE more thing to your end of year to do list seems like a huge task, but this is probably one of the most important to do! Don’t leave without it! 😉
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