By Vicki So, Rubicon International
It’s the final stretch, and both you and your students may be growing restless with springtime cabin fever. The next time you find yourself daydreaming about summer vacation, take a moment to pause and reflect back on the year’s accomplishments. Why not send a letter, postcard, or email to your future self using the reflection prompts below? Better yet, tweet your goals @PlanOnAtlas #DearFutureSelf… You will thank yourself in August!
What was most successful with students?
Did you accomplish everything you needed to?
Did you have a good work/life balance?
Next year I would like to do MORE…
Next year I would like to do LESS…
Next year I would like to TRY…
Which units or lessons were most successful with students? Which were disasters? Why?
Sometimes, despite the hours of curriculum work, things just don’t go according to plan. At other times, your last-minute haphazard idea works out magically! Take a moment to dissect and reflect on the potential factors, such as:
- Textbook-driven… versus student-centered curriculum
- Content-specific… versus interdisciplinary connections
- Academic… versus social and emotional learning
- Traditional assessment… versus project-based learning
- Individual preparation… versus collaborative team planning
Then go back and survey students for their opinion for the most interesting, most boring, etc. topics in class as well as ways to improve for next year’s students. You may even consult with the arts, physical education & health, guidance counselors, family or community members to help reinforce concepts in creative ways.
Did you accomplish everything you needed to? What would you re-arrange?
There is never enough time, so prioritization is critical… plus the sequencing of topics may fluctuate based on current student needs. Did you spend significant time re-teaching certain content or differentiating by content, process, or product? Maybe students needed a deeper understanding of place value before the unit on long division. Did you notice that the reading & writing units seemed too long and might be worth breaking up into multiple parts? Were any units too short or frequently interrupted by weather, assemblies, testing, sporting events, etc.?
It may also be a good time to identify any “power standards” or check for gaps with colleagues in the grade above or below… or even ask the technology team to help flip your classroom through videos and self-guided tutorials.
Did you have a good work/personal life balance? What were some obstacles or frustrations that you may have to address in order to make next year more enjoyable?
In airplane safety demonstrations, the flight attendant always advises to “put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping others.” You can’t be an effective teacher, advocate, counselor, social worker, coach, or any of the other numerous roles you play in the classroom unless you first take care of yourself outside of the classroom. Sleep, diet, exercise. Family, friends, mentors. Hobbies, travel, Netflix. Be on the lookout for the telltale signs of burnout, and carve out time for your own personal wellness:
Now, let’s reflect and set some personal goals!
Next year I would like to do more…
Next year I would like to do less…
Next year I would like to try…
Share your goals with us @PlanOnAtlas #DearFutureSelf