I was a basketball coach for almost 12 years at all levels and as a coach I always reflected after each practice, game, and season how I could be better individually and how I could get my programs better. I think that same principle applies to teaching. After every class, lesson, day, week, year, etc. I am constantly trying to find ways to get better and help my students to be more successful.
There are plenty of high quality teachers that reflect continuously on their practices and make adjustments from hour to hour, day to day, and year to year. But as I continue to wrap my brain around the idea of reflecting, I wonder if it is possible and how it can be possible to have teachers reflect on their own teaching to better serve students. In other words, how does a principal or fellow teacher establish a routine where reflecting on one’s own teaching should be done without it coming across harshly? How do we get colleagues to step outside of their comfort boxes to try new instructional practices where they may have a more substantial impact on student learning? Even though reflecting may be part of my professional routine, it may not be the routine of a few teachers down the hall (just speaking in generalities here, this does not necessarily reflect my own school or work environment).
Students should be at the center of our lessons and units and we should start with them in mind when we create our lessons and units. Education is changing and has changed over the years. It should come as no surprise to any educator. We have the Common Core, new teacher evaluation, and the introduction of more technology into the classroom just to name a few. Myself being in the mix of it all, I feel it is imperative that every educator takes time to reflect on what they are doing in their own classroom and make adjustments. Don’t be afraid to try new lessons, teaching strategies, approaches, technologies, etc. We need to have open minds to how our students learn and constantly think about what we can do to make our students better! They don’t learn the same way they did 20 or even 10 years ago. If we as educators can model for our students that we take the time to reflect, it can help our students to embrace that life skill that can be applied in all situations.