by Rachel Wells
Reflection is essential to growing as an educator and individual. And while we learn plenty from our experiences, we learn the most by reflecting on them. Reflection helps you learn from mistakes and become the best teacher you can be, while creating an opportunity to pause and focus on the why of your work as a teacher.
Here are some ways you can become a more reflective teacher:
Make a clear time to reflect
Make your reflection time a time that works for you. So whether that means sitting down at the end of each day and sticking post it notes to your lesson plan pages, or taking time once a week with a yummy treat to write notes in a journal – the goal is the same, to reflect on two key questions, “What went well in my lessons?” and “What is something that could have gone better?”
Invite colleagues to observe you
Inviting other teachers to watch you teach can be incredibly beneficial. When another teacher comes to observe you, ask them to make notes about what they see you doing well, and to give suggestions that can help you improve your craft.
Ask students for feedback
Your students are the ones with you the most, so it makes perfect sense to ask them for their feedback. You can ask them which types of activities they prefer, what their most and least favorite part of the school day is, or what they would like to see/do more of.
Look for what’s working well
Don’t become overly focused on fixing problem areas in your classroom, and remember to celebrate what you do well. Take time to identify your own strengths and see if you can use those in other areas of your teaching no matter the content area. If you’re an artistic person, incorporate art into math and science. If you are a teacher that loves literacy, bring quality books to share as an intro to your lessons.
Surround yourself with greatness
The more inspiration you see around you, the more likely you are to try fit some new and creative ideas into your own classroom. Look for inspiration in your coworkers, on social media, or in literature.
Reflecting is great, but without setting goals for improvement it’s kind of pointless. Take time to reflect, create a plan, and then work to improve.
Remember to be honest, but not critical of yourself
Don’t be blind to your shortcomings, but remember not to tear yourself apart either. No teacher will ever be perfect, but the best ones are out there always trying to improve.