Saturday, June 11, 2016

Reflecting on the School Year

       Did I do all I could to help my students to learn?
       Did I improve as an educator this year?
       Did I encourage my quietest students to participate?
       Did I emphasize "learning" over "getting-a-good-grade"?
       Did I communicate my expectations clearly?
       Did I establish good relationships with my students?
       Did I call on every students everyday?
       Did I help my reluctant learners to do their best?
       Did I work with parents to help my struggling learners?
       Did I push my highly-able students to do better?
       Did I model a growth mindset for my students?
       Did I provide appropriate and timely feedback?
       Did I demand the best from all of my students?
       Did I engage my students in their learning?
       Did I collaborate with my colleagues?
       Did I try something new in the classroom this year?
       Did I share my knowledge with other teachers?

       Teaching is an imperfect profession.  We get better every year; but we always have room to improve.  We connect with our students, but there are always some students that we can't reach.  We learn new strategies to address different learners, but we struggle to succeed with everyone.  Since we work with people (students) and not robots, every year is different--every day is different.  What worked last year doesn't work this year.  The lesson we spent two hours preparing usually leads to good student understanding, but not always and not with every student.

       The need to reflect on our practice and to improve every year is necessary.  Students change, principals change, resources change, the world changes.  We can't do the same thing for ten or twenty years.  We have to change too.  And when our results are less than we desire, we can't expect better results unless we change.  I often hear people say that there is no manual for being a good parent; the same is true for teachers.  But there are lots of books and courses and journals and EdCamps and conferences and colleagues for teachers to turn to get ideas and suggestions.  Experience helps; and our best teachers are those people who consistently seek to improve--those that reflect on their successes and failures of the past and yearn to improve.

Public Schools and Choice

       Is it true that public school kids and their public school parents don't have choices?  I'm sure that I will expose my igno...

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