Saturday, April 27, 2013

Summer Reflection and Planning

As the weather is getting warmer and the to do list is growing longer, summer is right around the corner. For many teachers, summer is a hard-earned reprieve from the day-to-day routine of the school year. Some use the time to prepare for the upcoming school year, while others spend the time working supplementary jobs or volunteering.
Summer fun at the beach

I asked my students what they thought teachers do during the summer. They said that teachers
·      Sleep a lot.
·      Go on vacation.
·      Spend time with their family.
·      Have a big party and then, close the school.
·      Make people be quiet.
·      Learn about next year’s students.
·      Get ready for the next school year.

While I’m sure that teachers do most of those things, one activity the students failed to mention was reflecting on the past year’s successes and failures. When I look back over the past year, I ask myself the following questions based on a list posted on Dr. Troy Roddy’s educational leadership blog, The Art of Education.
  1. What were my goals for this year? Did I accomplish my goals? If so, how do I know? If not, why?
  2. What were my best lessons this year? How do I know?
  3. What were the lessons that were the biggest disappointments? Why?
  4. Is my classroom set up to facilitate the type of class I want to teach?
  5. What feedback did I collect from students about their learning experience?
  6. Did I grow as a professional this year?  If so, in what areas?  If not, why?
  7. If I could do one thing over again, what would it be and why?
The answers to these questions naturally lead to thoughts on how I can improve my performance and have a more significant impact on student learning in the upcoming school year. I ask myself the following questions when developing my goals and plan for accomplishing those goals:
  1. How will I turn this year’s reflections into action? How can I repeat my successes and transform disappointments into celebrations?
  2. How will I encourage collaborative problem solving?
  3. How will I develop leadership skills in students?
  4. How will I further incorporate technology to impact student learning?
  5. How will I become a better leader in my school and professional organizations?
  6. What areas do I need to focus on for professional development? What opportunities are available in those areas?
  7. What resources or support do I need to accomplish my goals?
John Dewey said, “We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” Don’t let the summer pass by without reflecting on how you can improve your teaching skills and have a more profound impact on student learning.

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