Reflection is one of the most important aspects of good teaching. Teachers must constantly reflect on student progress, lessons and teaching practices, as well as relationships and interactions with students. Public education, essentially, is a cycle of teaching, assessing and reflecting. It’s how we, as teachers, grow.
The new year is an apt time for reflection. Sure, for teachers the new year doesn't come until September, but January is a great time to reflect on our practices thus far. Here are a few of the resolutions I have for 2014.
Be more organized
I’ve never been a very organized person. Over the past 2 years in the classroom, I’ve been forced into being organized, as it seems to be the only way to stay afloat in the sea of daily paperwork. While I have become much better at this (I don’t lose student papers anymore), I have a long way to go.
Create the Joy Factor
With the push for higher rigor and the shift to the Common Core, I’ve lost time in my class to celebrate my students. In the past, I’ve hosted awards ceremonies and class publishing parties after major assignments. This year, the joy factor in my classroom has been relegated to a Student of the Week award and some humorous Power Point pictures. In 2014, I want to find time to let kids be kids and let them celebrate their own achievements and those of their classmates. Some ideas I have cooking for 2014: True-Grit All-Star Award (given out to someone who overcomes adversity), End of Term awards for highest average, most improved, and best attendance.
Make Some Me Time
As the year wears on, I find it more and more difficult to make time for the things I really enjoy. I return home from work exhausted, with just enough time to get any leftover work done, eat, and go to bed. And, when I have the time, I’m often too exhausted to do much other than watch some mindless TV. Personally, I’ve always been a big reader, but I find this so difficult to do during the year that I’ve almost given up reading novels because I don’t have the time or energy to read on a consistent basis. We are so much more than just teachers, so it’s important not to forget the other roles we play in our own lives and the lives of others. If we don’t take care of ourselves the best we can, then we can’t be the best teachers we can be?
What are your New Year Resolutions?
How do you reflect to improve practice