Most all teachers are now on summer break, and it’s natural to want to just let down your hair and relax. And I don’t blame you. That is exactly what you should do. And while you are floating in the pool with a margarita in hand, let your mind wander back to this past school year and do a little reflecting. Here are my tips for effectively digesting the school year.
Reflection is a key element to improvement in any area. And reflection on the school year can give you a HUGE leg up on setting your intention come fall. So grab a journal or a piece of paper and let’s do this!
Keep – Stop – Start Chart
I love having a template or system for…well everything. (hehe) So first – let’s give ourselves a little graphic organizer for this task. Divide your paper into thirds with two vertical lines running down your page. At the top of one column, write “Keep”. At the top of the second column, write “Stop”. And at the top of the last column, write “Start”.
This is where you’ll record your thoughts about the school year.
Reflect on what is working well in the “Keep” section. This is where you list all the things you want to continue to do next year because they were effective and valuable.
Reflect on what isn’t working in the “Stop” section. This is where you’ll list things that were ineffective that you want to stop doing for next year.
Reflect on what you’d like to start doing in the “Start” section. This is where you’ll list new methods you want to try, lessons/units you’d like to revamp etc.
Reflect on Your Teaching vs. Yourself as a Teacher
So now I’m going to put a sneaky spin on this one… Draw two lines that divide your paper in half horizontally so that you have two large sections of your Keep-Stop-Start Chart.
In one section write “Teaching” and in the other section, write “Teacher”.
In the “Teaching” section, reflect on all of the things you want to Keep – Stop – or Start related to school and teaching. For example, you may want to keep your behavior management system, stop a certain teaching method, or start a new teaching method. This is pretty simple.
In the “Teacher” section, reflect on yourself as a teacher. Think about how you can be the happiest teacher you can be! Let’s dig in here since this is probably different from your usual reflection on the school year…
- What have you been doing as a teacher that needs to continue if you are going to be the happiest version of yourself?
- What were your happiest moments of the year?
- What things did you do that contributed to your overall happiness this year? (leaving a little early one day a week, monthly massages, etc.)
- What sabotages your happiness as a teacher? Are these things you can control or not control?
- What can you control that needs to stop in order for you to be a happy teacher? (overcommitting, extra commitments, saying ‘yes’ to everything, comparison, perfectionism, etc)
- What boundaries do you need to put up to protect your heart and mental health?
- What habits can you stop that will help you stay happy and thriving? (numbing with TV, alcohol, shopping etc.)
- What habits do you need to cultivate in order to by a happy teacher? (self-care, saying “no”, etc. ) – Check out my Top 10 Habits of Wholehearted Teachers list for inspiration!)
- What can you do to rejuvenate your spirit throughout the school year next year?
- What things bring you joy about teaching that you need to start doing more of? (hands-on projects, poetry, mentoring students, life-lesson moments etc.)
Hopefully you have some ideas for how you can not only reflect on your teaching and what you’d like to improve for next year for your students – but ALSO for yourself so that you can be the happiest version of your teacher-self and THRIVE in your teacher life!!!
Share your thoughts below – I’d love to hear them!
All my love,
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