Relax, Reflect, Recalibrate

It’s the middle of the summer, another school year is successfully in the books, and preparations for the new school year are not quite in full swing. Now — while you’re hopefully finding time for some well-deserved relaxation — is an ideal time to reflect and recalibrate on the type of year you had and the students that you had the opportunity to teach. Reflecting and recalibrating can help you learn more about who you are as a teacher and use what you’ve learned from the past school year to guide where and how you want to embark on the upcoming year.

The Power of Reflection

Reflection is a chance to contemplate the events of the past school year in order to gain a new perspective on them. Reflecting on your past school year gives you the advantage of becoming more strategic and intentional so that you can approach the next school year with flexibility and purpose. Take the time to think about how you could have proactively approached certain lessons or paperwork that didn’t go as smoothly as you had hoped. By considering what you can do better, you are developing a growth mindset that will be invaluable once the new school year rolls around. We constantly teach our students to have a growth mindset and learn from their mistakes – why not be that example and do it ourselves?

Some ways to practice reflecting are to look back at old lesson plans, look back on student work, or connect with colleagues to discuss what they noticed. Once you’ve gathered information about the school year, take some time to journal, make lists, or meditate on what you’ve noticed. Use the technique that works best for you to reflect on the following questions:

  • How would I describe my school year? What evidence do I have that tells me that?
  • What went well for me? What can I still improve professionally?
  • Did my actions as a teacher match my beliefs and intentions?
  • Did I find time to take care of myself throughout the school year?

 

Recalibrating for a New Year

After you have taken a moment to reflect, it is now time to recalibrate. Recalibration is about using what you learned during reflection to reassess and adjust your approach to teaching. Recalibrating during the calm of the summer will give you a head start on making the next school year smoother and less stressful. This will help you set a positive tone right from the first day of school, one which will have a lasting impact over the course of the school year.

As you are recalibrating, consider the following questions:

  • How can I incorporate successes from last year into this upcoming year?
  • How will I continue to grow professionally and take care of myself throughout the year?
  • How can I reorganize my classroom to better support my students?
  • How do I want to support students throughout the day — in the morning, at midday, and as the day ends?

Summer is the perfect occasion to spend time with family, catch up with friends, soak up some sun, and finally crack open that amazing book you’ve been meaning to read. It’s also a great time to get to know yourself a little better as a teacher and use that newfound self-knowledge to make your next school year even better. Knowing yourself and how you work best is foundational to being effective in the classroom. Utilize resources like The First Six Weeks of School (for elementary educators) and Building an Academic Community (for middle school educators) to support you as you reflect and recalibrate for the year ahead.

Tags: Reflection, self-care, Summer, Transitions

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