I firmly believe in self-reflection as a means toward growth and development. As such, we all benefit from a few intense sessions of self-reflection throughout the course of the school year. We will better understand who we are as educators as well as how our actions align with our beliefs. Regardless of your position or role in education, here are my top 10 questions to ask yourself for the start of the school year:
- How and what are you doing to build strong and enduring relationships with your students and your colleagues?
- What did you do very well last year? Where did you see a lot of success? Do you know why...?
- What did you not do very well last year? Where did you not see a lot of success? Do you know why...?
- What are you doing to improve your craft? How are you ensuring that you will be better able to address your students' needs this upcoming school year vs. last school year?
- In your absence, can your students continue learning and growing? Do they absolutely need you to continue the learning process?
- Do your students really and truly know your expectations? Do they have a part in establishing those expectations?
- Do you give your students enough praise for the great things they are doing? Are you filling their buckets?
- Do you practice what you preach? Do your actions speak louder than your words?
- What is the biggest mistake you made (educationally speaking) last school year? What did you learn from this experience?
- If you never saw your students ever again, what do you think they would say about you?
The answers to these questions will give you a good idea of what your teaching objectives should be for the year. You can use this to build a map outlining your personal goals. Be sure to re-evaluate periodically during the year.
Regardless of how well or not well last school year went, you have a fresh opportunity to improve and do even better this upcoming school year. Take a few minutes to look in the mirror and embrace the power of self-reflection as you prepare for an exciting and awesome school year!
Justin is currently the Director of Curriculum & Support Services in the Union R-XI School District in Union, Missouri. Prior to that, he was Principal and Assistant Principal at Poplar Bluff Junior High School in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and before that he was a high school German teacher. Justin is very active on Twitter (@justintarte) and is the author of one of the most read education blogs in the world, Life of an Educator (justintarte.com). Justin is excited about integrating technology and social media into the educational setting, while increasing collaboration and transparency among all stakeholders.