The school year is over (or nearly over), and summer is just starting. As you look forward to some well-earned R&R, we encourage you to take some time to do a little self-reflection.
If you have ever attended one of our professional development sessions, you know that we are proponents of the idea that to be more effective, we need to be more reflective. We also recognize the importance of acknowledging the good and the bad– and imagining the possibilities that the future may hold.
In this spirit, we have created some questions to help you reflect on the joys and challenges of the past school year and set some goals for summer and new school year.
In what ways/areas did you grow as an educator this year?
Did you learn new strategies or skills that helped you in the classroom? Did a new activity work well in the classroom?
How did you grow as an individual?
What are some things you have done or accomplished– outside of the classroom– that you are proud of? Did you try something new? Did you finish a personal project you’ve been working on?
How did your students grow or change for the positive this year?
Which student(s)/class(es) showed the most growth? Why do you think they grew?
What professional challenges were particularly tough this year?
What caused the most frustration/stress? Did you have any interpersonal struggles with colleagues? Was there a student or class that was the most challenging for you?
What personal challenges were particularly tough for you this year?
Were there any people or situations that added to your stress and frustrations this year?
What was the biggest mistake you made this year?
Did you miss a deadline? Say something you wish you hadn’t? Planned a lesson that turned out to be an epic fail?
Looking back at all of these challenges, as difficult and draining as they were, what did you learn from them? How did you overcome them?
Were there any healthy/positive strategies that helped you deal with your challenges? Are there any lessons you learned that would help you deal with similar challenges in the future?
How did your relationships with your colleagues grow this year?
Who was one of the colleagues who helped you the most this year? How did you help your colleagues?
How did you create and develop connections with your students this year?
Did you try any new activities or approaches that helped your students connect with you or each other?
How did your relationships outside of work grow this year?
What did you do to nurture your connections with friends and/or family this year? Who did you connect with the most this year?
What is one positive moment–big or small– from this year that you hope to remember forever?
Was there a random act of kindness from a student or colleague? A funny moment in the classroom or on campus? An inside joke with your class or colleagues?
What was a stand-out moment from this year?
Perhaps a personal or professional win? A student who made you laugh harder than you have in a while? A student or students who made a breakthrough this year?
What do you hope your students remember most about you as a teacher?
If a student came to visit you in 10 years, what would you want them to say was their most significant takeaway from being your student?
(We recommend using WOOP goals for this section)
What goals will you set for your mental and physical well-being/self-care this summer?
How will you carry these activities into the school year?
What are two goals you have for yourself as an educator in the new school year?
This could be a strategy you’d like to try, an interpersonal goal for yourself and/or your students, or a professional goal to help you increase your skills and knowledge.
We hope these questions helped you reflect on the past year and and helped you look forward to the new year!