This post is a long time coming. Reflection. There isn’t one of you reading this who doesn’t know what it means, and most of you are probably very clear on the benefit of it. We all heard about it in University. We were told how important it was to look back on a lesson we taught, embrace the positives and work on the negatives, and use this process to refine and improve our teaching. Of course we also were taught about lesson plans…
The trouble is we can always find an excuse or some other activity that commandeers that time we could use for reflection, and we don’t get around to it. Like creating a lesson plan, reflecting is something we know we should do, we know will help us, but we also know we can still get by without doing it. We gain confidence in ourselves as teachers and we let reflection fall to the wayside. I did. I was so sure of myself as an educator that I never really took the time to sit and review what I did on a daily basis. Sure, I would discuss my teaching with my colleagues, share strategies and talk shop, but I never really took the time to think about and go through what I was doing on a daily basis.
When I started writing posts for this blog, I did it to hear ideas from others, to share some of my ideas, and to get a conversation going about issues that were important to me. It didn’t take long to realize that what I was really doing was reflecting on my teaching and my new job, administration. When I was frustrated by tough days, posting my reflections acted as catharsis. I’d reflect and realize that things weren’t so bad, that I was making the right decisions, and I would be able to move past the issue. When I have had questions, or issues that I needed to work through, I write about them, and the solution will often become clear as I put it in a post. Of course the best part about posting reflections in a blog is all the amazing comments you get which aid in both further reflection and with providing ideas and solutions to any issue I may have.
So what effects have I noticed reflection has had on my practice?
- I am not nearly so critical of myself – I find it easier to be a little more forgiving when I see I haven’t handled something as well as I could have.
- I can pat myself on the back once in a while – I find it hard to tell if I have handled a situation well. By reflecting, I can look back and really see where I made a good decision, or dealt with an issue well.
- I can work on my areas of growth – my blog provides me a safe place to share, to reflect, to learn and to grow with the assistance of my PLN. I obviously protect myself by not using student names or specific/telling details, but I am still able to work through a question with people who can offer great insight.
- I can be me – In these posts I can talk about how a situation frustrated me, brought me to tears or left me speechless. I can admit that my composure was lost, that I made a mistake or that I ended up looking like an ass. I can drop the tough facade, and show my true colors because my PLN includes supportive and understanding people who have been in my shoes and know its ok to have tough days.
Blogging is a wonderful tool for reflection and sharing, but for someone in their first year of administration I can tell you it is has been a lifesaver. The job can be a lonely one, and it can be tough to find someone or somewhere to share, to vent and to find support. I thank each and everyone of you that reads these posts, especially those of you that take the time to comment. I hope you can see now that you are part of my reflective process, and part of making me a better educator. Thank You.