Before the school year even ended I began reflecting on how this year went. 
With this being the first Monday of my summer break reality sets in that I am not in my classroom. What a strange feeling after spending every Monday there for ten months. Year after year summer sneaks up on me faster than the year before it. While a break from school is much needed for all, it's always a bittersweet feeling packing up and heading out of the building one last time before the new school year begins. 

Reflecting on any practice is always important, how else are we supposed to improve?

Below are some questions I asked myself- 

1. What went well this year? 
- Building relationships with my students, I was able to really get to know what they liked and enjoyed. Building relationships also builds rapport, and from there I had little classroom management issues. 

2. What could have gone better this year?
- I wish I would have made an effort to attend more of my student's extracurricular events. By the end of the school day I was always so worn out that I just wanted to go home and not stay any longer than needed. I know my students would have appreciated this- I will definitely be making more of an effort with this next year. 

3. What risks did you take this year? 
- This one is difficult for me to answer. I'm really not sure if I took any risks this year...and that makes me kind of sad. Next year I am planning to apply for more grants like previous years. I also want to continue to collaborate with other classes and campuses for projects with my students. 

4. Did you meet any of your goals you set for this past school year? 
- One of my goals this year was to better differentiate my activities for my 'GT' students. Working with my AP, I created several activities for my second year interns who already had that foundational knowledge of the subject. When I created these activities it wasn't just for my 'GT' students as requested by my administrator, it was for all of my students- because they all need that chance to expand upon what they know. I would say I met this goal and will continue to work on this.
- A personal goal of mine, but still totally work related, was to wait before I respond to an email/text/phone call. Sometimes I can be quick to respond and may do so in a manner in which the email/text/words out of my mouth could be taken the wrong way. When I receive an email that makes me upset, I remember to wait, give myself some time to digest the information, and then respond. While this is a small goal, I feel like so many people could work on this. Being kind to one another is so important, our job as teachers is already difficult enough. 

5. What was a challenge that you overcame this year? 
- Motivating the unmotivated student. This was by far my biggest challenge and I think it will always be a challenge. Having unmotivated students is pretty atypical in my class, since students apply to be in the program there is usually a general interest to start with. But, as the year progresses, seniors in high school (and really any grade in general) can begin to become unmotivated due to routine and monotony. How to you motivate the unmotivated student? This is still something I am working on. 

6. What are you proud of from this school year? 
- One thing I am proud of from this school year is my students working incredibly hard so they were able to go on our Ron Clark Academy field trip over spring break. We raised over $13,000 this year with various fundraisers. My school did not pay for anything, my students worked for the money they needed to attend the trip. But, what I am most proud of, is what they took away from RCA. When my students returned to their internship classrooms I saw so many of them have a more vested interest when creating their lesson plans and activities. When they taught their lessons they were more animated, engaging, and genuinely excited to be in the classroom teaching their students! It was great for them to see what teaching could be, and it was all up to them as the teacher to make it that way. I always tell my students, it all starts with the teacher- you set the mood for the classroom. 

7. What do you believe your students would say about how this year went? 
- I wish I would have actually asked my students this before the year ended. Everything is so crazy at the end you know? I need to make a point of asking this next year. But, what I would hope my students would say is that they were motivated to be agents of change. Sometimes my students will come to class and share a complaint they heard from one of their teachers and it just breaks my heart, because I don't want them to get the idea of that one complaint representing all of the teachers out there and our profession. I try to remind them that everyone, regardless of their profession, can have an off day. But, it can get frustrating when students repeatedly hear complaints from educators. We need to inspire out future generation and show them how great this profession is! With that being said...if there's one thing my students take away from a school year with me, I hope it is this- if you want something to change, go out an change it. Don't wait for someone else to do it. 

How do you reflect on the year? Do you see a benefit from reflecting? 


Hannah AtmarComment