But seriously though I do remember taking time out before the close of school to reflect on my school year. I'd often think about how much my students were able to learn throughout the year, how much better they had become as fluent readers and writers. I thought about how much they grew socially, how they were continuing to develop into wonderful mathematicians. I also remember having them gather in a large circle on the carpet in the front of our room to share out some of their highlights from class that year. I even encouraged them to write their reflections down on paper or talk with their family. In all, I just wanted my students to take time to reflect on how far they had come since the first day of school. I wanted them to also reflect on those peaks & valleys they encountered during the year, to think about how they were able to overcome their fears by stepping up and tackling a difficult book, math problem, science or social studies project; and in doing so, I wanted them to see how their courageous efforts made them an even better student/person.
In my own professional life, I find it important to reflect on my role as an Instructional Coach. Frequently after taking teachers through a coaching cycle, I think about areas where I was successful as a coach as well as reflect on areas where I need to develop action steps so I can continue to improve in my role. For you as a teacher, perhaps you are like me and the school year is not over just yet; I encourage you to bring your class together to reflect on the school year. If your summer vacation has already began, think about areas where you can improve as a teacher. Maybe there's a great professional development opportunity happening near you this summer and you want to take advantage of it by being there to learn from experts in the field. Perhaps there's a great book that you'd like to read over the summer on Restorative Justice in schools. Whatever it is that you are interested in doing or learning more about, I encourage you to do just that all while reflecting on how it has allowed you to become an even better version of yourself. As the saying goes "You can't know where you're going until you know where you've been"...now go out there and be GREAT!