The school year is almost over. You are counting up the days on the calendar wall with your students and crossing off the days on your personal mental calendar 😊. One of the burning questions in your mind: Should I start packing up my classroom? It’s also pretty tempting to let your lessons slide a bit but don’t check out too soon! This unique group of students will not happen again. I always wanted to end the year (and I’m sure you do too) with positive vibes and a smooth transition into summer. Most teachers ask their students to reflect on their year. It’s important for teachers to also do the same.
Every year, little people enter your room bringing a new set of challenges and personalities that will encourage you to adapt and evolve your teaching to match their needs. Even after teaching Kinder for many years, I was always learning and trying out new instructional techniques. Discovering I could barely remember what happened yesterday, meant for sure that if I didn’t reflect on what worked (and didn’t) before leaving on summer vacation, it was not going to happen. Writing down my own “glows & grows” allowed me to celebrate what worked and consider how to improve what didn’t go so well.
Think about your successes this year. What items really deserve a high five? What were your struggles? Think of your struggles in a positive way. How did those struggles change your way of teaching, thinking, or allow you to grow?
Suggestions for Reflections
Classroom Management: Were you rules consistent? Were your consequences consistent? Do you need to be more positive? Do you need to add or take away some rules? Did you review and reteach the rules throughout the year?
Classroom Routines: Were students independent with the routines? Do you need to add or change any of the routines?
Teaching Style/Instruction: Did you try a variety of instructional styles? Do you need to do more or less whole group, partnerwork, small group, student-led, experiments, project-based learning?
Curriculum: Did you need to speed up or slow down any of the curriculum? Is there a different way to present some of the tougher concepts? What areas were the weakest? Did you provide enough student choice? Was the curriculum engaging and rigorous?
Assessment: Did you provide students with the opportunity to self-assess? Did you give the students feedback? Were students able to see their growth throughout the year? Were your assessments appropriate or necessary?
Classroom Set Up: Does the arrangement of the furniture in your room flow? Do you need to add or take away any items? Do you want to try adding flexible seating options? Do students have different areas in the room to work?
Parent Communication: Were you able to connect with all your parents? Were you able to send positive notes home to all your students? Is there another format of communication that would work better? Try seesaw.com or a new messaging system.
Relationships with Students and Colleagues: Were your relationships with your students positive and warming? Did you collaborate well with your colleagues? Are there some colleagues you need to reach out to next year for more support?
Want some honest feedback on some of the areas?
Survey your students. Use emojis and words in a mini-survey to find out what worked for them. The responses will make you smile and help with your self-reflection.
Make Goals for Next Year
Choose 2 items from the list to focus on, and make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself. Perhaps do a little research in the beginning of the summer, so it’s still fresh in your mind and you get it done right away. It’s easy to put it on your summer list and then summer gets in the way and we don’t end up accomplishing it! Look on pinterest, join a facebook teaching group, watch some short teaching videos, find a new professional development book to read, or browse our lessons for instruction ideas! It doesn’t need to be too intensive. Just give yourself a few ideas to implement next year.
Teachers work incredibly hard. Enjoy your summer break, and give yourself some important me-time. You deserve it!