8 Ways to Reflect on Your Year

Rearview Sunset by subadei, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  subadei 

by Kristie Burk

Today is the last teacher day of school in the Downingtown Area School District.  Hooray!

Over the last few days, I’ve seen several posting by teachers asking for feedback from their students about their classes.  What a great idea! I encourage you to talk to parents, students, and your colleagues about how the year went.  Most importantly, don’t forget to do some self-reflection as well. I encourage you to write down your reflections, whether they’re on paper or in Evernote.

Here are 8 questions to help you reflect on your year:

  1. What were the times you don’t want to forget? Hopefully, you had more than a few great moments this year. Maybe it was a particularly good lesson, a funny joke a student told, a nice parent interaction, or a visit from a former student.  Write down the experience and how it made you feel if you’re so inclined.  These are great to look back on during those not-so-great days.
  2. What did you accomplish professionally this year? Did you pilot the Reading Wonders program? Did you teach a blended class for the first time? Read a good book that changed your thinking? Take a good class? Learn a new app?  Write down everything you accomplished – from the big to the small.
  3. What did your class accomplish this year? Think about your class as a whole and all the things that you accomplished together.  (This list doesn’t have to include just academics!)
  4. What did your students accomplish this year? Think about each of your students as individuals.  Did any of them have a break-through? Was there a significant project that blew you away?  Did you finally reach that struggling learner? Celebrate each accomplishment.
  5. What was effective this year? If you think back to last August, what did you do (or not do) that had a noticeable effect? Think about all of the lessons, activities, videos, books, units, meetings, etc. that had an impact.  Write down the list so that you can replicate next year.  While you’re at it, think about how you can expand these successes into other areas.
  6. What didn’t go so well this year and why? This is a tough question, but it’s worth asking yourself. Before you answer, separate the responses into two sub-categories:
    1. Things that were not in my control.  Don’t even worry about these.  Let them go…
    2. Things that were in my control.  What do you plan to do differently next time?
  7. What are my goals for next year? This may also be a difficult question to answer and you may need to think about it for a while.  Take some time to read some educational books to get inspired! (Insert shameless plug for the summer reading list here.)
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