Self-reflection is the foundation for improvement in all areas of life. Consistent, honest reflection is what drives good teachers to become great educators. This practice doesn’t have to be time consuming. Here are some reflection tips for busy teachers.
- Stick to the standard. Good lesson planning begins with a standard; good reflection does too. Write down the standard, strategy, or issue you are reflecting on. Keep your responses focused and positive.
- Jot down notes on assignment pages, tests, and lesson plans. Jotting down quick notes at the end of a lesson while the experience is fresh in your mind will help you recall your thoughts for deeper reflection later.
- Summarize the unit. When finishing a unit or project, write a summary of the project highlights. This doesn’t have to be fancy or well written. Use bullet points to list what went well, what didn’t, and what you will do differently next time.
- Write a timed journal entry. Set a timer for 10 minutes and start writing about your day or week. When the timer goes off, finish your sentence and stop. This will help you to get some frustration out on a tough day. Tip: Always end a “venting session” with the “highlight of the day” to refocus on the positive.
- Solicit student feedback. Assign surveys or open ended questions that generate feedback from your students at the end of a unit or semester. Feedback requests can be created for any age with a little thought and creativity. Primary students can participate in a discussion about what they liked or didn’t like. Or try making a whole class graph activity to provide multiple choice feedback on the whiteboard.
- Ask a colleague to observe your teaching. Observing other teachers is helpful for generating new ideas and strategies in the classroom. Ask a trusted colleague to observe one of your lessons and offer to return the favor. Before your fellow teacher begins the observation, furnish them with the standard you will be teaching and some strategies that you plan to use. It is important that they give you positive feedback, but also provide suggestions and ideas for improvement.
- Develop your Teaching Portfolio. It’s a good idea to add updates like certificates from trainings to a Teaching Portfolio, but it’s also important to review your teaching philosophy and compare it to your practices. At the end of each semester (or trimester), reflect on the documents in your teaching portfolio and update them if needed. Ask yourself if your lessons reflect your beliefs about education and learning? Your philosophy may evolve over time and with experience. Or maybe it won’t, but a quick look at your philosophy statement can renew your passion for teaching and help you regain focus.
Consistent self-reflection is the best way to improve your teaching practices. Educators who reflect on their teaching and collaborate with others in their profession find solutions and get results. Use these tips to make reflecting on your lessons fit into your busy schedule.
Do you have other helpful tips for reflection? Please share!