End of the Year Reflection

I think reflective practice is the heart of a growing teacher. Without reflection, we stagnate. Over time, reflection has become a state of mind for me. However, if I never write it down, I fear I’m missing deepening my understanding. Writing strengthens reflective practice. Will you take some time to write a reflection from this past year. Perhaps you just want to begin writing. On the other hand, perhaps you want more direction. This is where I am today. I need some direction, some guidance in focusing my thoughts. So I’m going to complete just a handful of statements, with the purpose of growing in my understanding and practice.

  • I learned…
  • I was stretched by….
  • I am excited about…
  • I’m beginning to realize…

I learned to trust myself. When students write every day, about meaningful topics of their choosing, they grow the most. This is something that I know in my heart, but it transferred to my head this year. I’ve learned to trust myself more, to act on my beliefs and understandings, to allow myself to try ideas based on my philosophies.

I was stretched by making the invisible visible. I worked hard to document learning and practices that are sometimes unseen. I’ve considered ways to make the messy work of growing writers beautiful. I’m learning how to document my work and make the work of process beautiful and valuable.

I am excited about the data from teachers I worked with this year that is giving another bit of proof that workshop teaching is powerful. I’m ready to say, “Did you expect something else?” when teachers come to me all smiley because their kids grew more in writing that they ever have before. I’m not an advocate for test prep materials, because I believe if kids are engaged in a solid reading and writing workshop, then they are more than prepared to succeed on a standardized test. I’m excited the results are confirming my stance.

I’m beginning to realize this job isn’t worth doing if I’m not doing it with joy and purpose. I’m in the midst of the stress. I feel it from teachers who are on the front line and from administrators who are absorbing the mandates and changes from the state. I work alongside children who are in great need. I confer with kids who are high ability and those with an IEP. I am in the thick of things, so it is not a flippant remark, believing joy is an essential part of my work. This is the most important thing I can do — be joyful and keep my focus on a defined purpose.

How about you? Will you take some time to write your reflection? (Then take minute to share it with us.)