The conclusion of another calendar year is always a great time to celebrate successes while reflecting on how to improve our craft as we make resolutions for 2015. We continually reflect on the effectiveness of our building school improvement plans, culture and climate, instructional strategies, district initiatives, curriculum and assessment, etc. Our Professional Learning Committees do an amazing job collaborating while setting and monitoring goals that supports learning. I also believe the success of a building depends greatly on self-reflection, asking questions that hit the core of our professional growth.
Any job needs honest self-reflection. Asking profound self-reflection questions, while understanding yourself and how stakeholders might view you, will truly improve your performance and maybe even the quality of your work experience. Examples of profound self-reflection questions:
- Do my students like me? Do I like my students? Do I connect with them by creating positive relationships?
- Do I create a collaborative culture of safety and empowerment within the learning process, where students can be risk-takers?
- Do I automatically go to a negative place when hearing about new initiatives or do I consider the positives aspects that might support my craft?
- Do I let disappointment in educational politics and uncertainties creep into the classroom?
- Do I find the professional growth process (evaluation) as a nuisance or a chance to grow and develop my craft?
- Am I defensive when receiving constructive criticism? Do I make excuses, or use constructive criticism as a chance to grow professionally?
- Do I take instructional conferencing with my principal seriously?
- Do my parents like me? Do they know how much I care for their children and enjoy teaching? What would they say about my ability to communicate with them?
- Do I surround myself with positive people? Do I like my job? Can I do better?
- Do my colleagues like me? Do they feel supported by me, or do I create anxiety for them? How do I respond to others that are negative?
- Do I create my own stress? Are my greatest strengths creating weakness? Am I blinded by my own ambition?
- If everyone at my place of work had my attitude, what kind of work environment would it be? Do I have a growth or fixed mindset? Do I create opportunities to grow professionally (through professional development, twitter chats, professional reading, etc.), or do I think it is someone else’s job to seek out opportunities for me?
- Am I the voice of “all good things” in education or the echo of what is bad?
I feel extremely fortunate to work in a positive building, with an amazing staff; however, even the most positive educators should ask these questions from time to time. These are questions that I utilize when reflecting, which sustains my focus of being the best that I can be for our school community and ultimately our students. If one truly want to sustain professional growth, I believe that you need to think deeper than traditional performance reflection questions. One must self-reflect, getting to to core of professional growth, knowing that you are the only one who can truly answer these questions.
As you reflect and set goals for 2015, start thinking about deeper self-reflection questions that will support your motivation and positively carry you into a new calendar year. Pick one or two that might resonate with you and try to improve by giving the “extra degree.” Always remember the importance of being the “positive voice” in education! Continue to grow and embrace change, creating opportunities for professional growth, while enjoying the best job in the world… teaching children!
Thanks for reading and make this holiday season a time for family, friends and reflection.
Enjoy the conclusion to another great year!