As summer begins, I wanted to find an article that highlighted things teachers could do over the summer. But when I tried to find ideas- I found list after list of things that still seem unattainable.
- Read A Book
- Go on a Vacation
- Reconnect with Nature
- Reconnect with Friends
- Go Shopping
- Sleep In
- Finish a Home Project
All of these things sound wonderful. And maybe I might be able to get around to a few of them. I did buy a new book the other day (Although it is still sitting on my desk unopened). Or maybe one of my boys will actually let me sleep in on a glorious summer morning (Check back with me in August and I will let you know). It is easy to assume a teacher’s life is all sunshine and margaritas for summer break, but for most of us, it looks very different.
Here are just a few things I need to get done this Summer-
- Pack up my classroom. See what needs replacing. Replace said materials
- Turn over any files of non-returning students to administration
- Develop new curriculum and make any materials I need
- Attend continuing education conferences
- Redecorate my room
- Communicate with any new students and their families
AND SO MUCH MORE.
With all of that to do, one of the most important things a teacher can do in the summer is often missed. After all of the sunshine and margarita articles, I came across one titled “The Importance Of Teacher Reflection; Growing In The Teaching Profession Through Reflection” by: Melissa Kelly. She summed up beautifully why reflection both of self and studies is so important. She also lists practical and specific ways in which educators can look back with a critical eye to better themselves, their classrooms and their students.
Her four methods of reflection for teachers are-
- Daily reflection
- Unit reflection
- End of term reflection
- End of year reflection
But objectively looking back at your day, unit, term, year is only half of the work. Now comes the fun part- implementing changes. She says, “Only by using this information to produce real change can growth occur.” She suggests 6 concrete ideas to help you act on the areas of growth you have identified using the above four methods.
- Celebrate your successes
- Build on your successes
- Identify areas that need improvement
- Determine why things failed
- Create a plan for improvement
- Adjust future lessons and procedures
She then suggests- “Once you have been through the process and implemented changes, you will want to continue to track changes and reflect as described above.” Melissa’s ideas and ways to grow as an educator are solid, and thought provoking. I would encourage everyone to check out her article, and see what ideas you can borrow in your own teaching journey.
The only thing I would add to her list of tools is this. Bloomz. Instead of using a daily journal like she suggested in the article, this year I used Bloomz in my classroom. This created a running record of my classroom daily, and I was able to go back and see in detail how units worked (or didn’t), how the kids responded to materials, and what I would want to keep or do differently next year. It enabled me to go back and reflect on my year without creating more work for myself.
To sign up for a Bloomz account and start documenting your classroom throughout the year, please click here.