In the mad rush to finish a school year we become calendar driven and event oriented. What we sometimes miss is the opportunity to reflect well – we push that off to June after school is over, but by then we are too tired to want to take too much time for reflection. The missed opportunity of reflection robs us of both satisfaction of work well done and also consideration of what must change for next year. But, what if we planned for reflection? What questions might help us gain some perspective/data for reflection?
For starters, if we are a teacher we might ask our students these questions:
- Did I increase your passion for learning this year?
- Did I make you feel smarter, more secure, more confident, and more loved?
- Ask students to complete this sentence: “One thing to be sure to keep in this class is ________ and one thing to think about eliminating is _____________.
If we are a building principal or in another leadership role we might ask our teachers these questions to help our own reflection on our leadership:
- What should I keep doing? Stop doing? Think about doing?
- How could I better support your work in the coming year?
- Did we meet the goals we set as a professional learning community?
Reflection requires humility – the willingness to ask the questions that we need more information about – so that we can synthesize, consider, and extract valuable lessons. Reflection can be one of the best ways we can learn and grow toward wisdom and Christlikeness. Typically, after a student has misbehaved we most often require reflection of them in order to move forward – shouldn’t we require it of ourselves? Reflection also provides the space for celebration of good things – blessings which lead to gratitude – gratitude for the opportunity to impact the lives of so many – to be in relationship – to grow and work together for an extended period of time of growing, learning, praising, crying, listening, arguing, and caring that makes up our school year!
Dan Beerens is an educational consultant, author, international speaker, and educational leader. Before starting Dan Beerens Consulting in May 2010, he served as Vice President of Learning Services and Director of Instructional Improvement at Christian Schools International. Prior to that, he was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Holland Christian Schools. Dan has also worked as teacher and principal in urban and suburban public and Christian schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. He serves as a Senior Fellow at CACE (Center for the Advancement of Christian Education), represents Curriculum Trak sales and professional development and serves as co-chair of the annual Christian Deeper Learning conference. He blogs regularly for CACE and is the author of Evaluating Teachers for Professional Growth: Creating a Culture of Motivation and Learning (Corwin Press) and co-editor of the recent book MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education (ACSI).