Refining is the process of purification. Natural resources are refined when they are almost in a usable state in order to make them more valuable.
I think teachers ought to engage in a refining process as well. A process of purification. A process of becoming more valuable.
I’ve heard all of the reasons why we don’t; however, I’ve come to realize reflective practice boils down to you either believe in it and make time for it or you don’t. It’s just like anything else in life: we make time for the things we believe are important.
I believe reflective practice is what sets apart the great teachers. A quote hangs in my office saying, “The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is successful people fail more.” It is in the process of taking risks and trying new ideas then considering how well these ideas worked which allow us to grow as teachers.
When I consider refining as a process of purification, I realize much of the time I spend in reflective practice is asking myself whether the experiences my students encounter are meaningful. Are they authentic? I hold tightly to a small number of core beliefs about teaching and I’m constantly asking myself whether my instruction holds true.
I catch myself getting caught up in the “game of school.” I find myself doing things in my classroom because of the ease and simplicity of it. Without intentionally engaging in reflective practice, I could easily be caught up in teaching to raise test scores instead of raising readers and writers.
As a reader of this blog, I think it is safe to assume you engage in reflective practice on a regular basis. Would you mind sharing why you do so and how you find the time? I’ll look forward to reading your comments. Thanks in advance for sharing your thinking.
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