It is the end of another school year, or pretty close, and aren’t endings such a natural time for reflection?  Looking back on the highs and lows from a year devoted to the students who not only passed through the classroom doors, but into our hearts.  We all have strengths and areas we excel and hopefully can be honest enough to see the areas for improvement.  I believe an honest reflection at the end of another school year is a very valuable exercise and one, which as I got more comfortable in my own skin, allowed me to celebrate successes and plan to make a fresh start in areas in need of change.

And let me be honest, knowing the plate of the everyday teacher is already full, reflection doesn’t mean you have to devote an entire day, or even an entire hour, to the cause.  You can take the time to think back on what you did, what you learned, how you felt, etc., during the in-between times: commute home, workout, 10 minutes before bed.  If you’ve got hours on end to reflect, fabulous! Let us know your secret : )The big idea here is to take a break and meaningfully think back on the last 9 months, and I recommend jotting down a few notes while you’re at it.

I know there came a point in my year, and even in my new position, where I would meet with my supervisor, reflection in hand, to discuss the work of the year.  Even though I certainly spoke with my principal daily about things going on in the classroom, it felt different when it was that formal meeting and my reflection was formally turned in.  So if you’re like me, you might be tempted to highlight only the beaming lessons, committees we’ve chaired, and other gold star accomplishments. But I would encourage you to dive into the lessons that struggled, the tasks that kept you thinking long after the last bell of the day rang.  Dive into the issues to find solutions.  Work with the team to set things in motion for the next year that will allow more successful moments.

So you’ve reflected… now what?  Take time this summer to recharge your batteries as you have put in so much time, energy, and effort during the compact, busy school year.  Relax and spend time doing things that bring you joy.  Allow yourself the time to decompress, and, since you took the time to reflect on what you will do differently next year, you can pick that back up in August.

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