End-of-Year Reflections: Why They Really Matter
by: Esther Tarkieltaub, LBS1
What is reflection and why is it so valuable? Let’s begin with a definition. Simply put, reflection refers to the act of putting serious thought or consideration towards a situation or activity. As the school year comes to an end, it is invaluable for teachers, children and parents to spend time reflecting – in their own way – on the past school year.
Reflecting on the year is not only an exercise aimed at evaluating what could have been done better and making improvements, although that’s certainly important. It is about rejoicing and celebrating our successes as much as it is about learning and growing from challenges faced and mistakes made. When used properly, reflection can be a powerful and transformative tool.
As educators and parents, it’s important to take time to stop and think about our actions, reflect on what the year has meant to us, take note of our accomplishments, and consider practical steps we can take to improve in the future. For educators especially, the value of thinking critically about our relationships with others and our teaching performance cannot be understated. Parents and educators should also encourage children to reflect on their accomplishments and identify areas for growth in learning as well as social and emotional development.
Reflective practice and the results that follow from small modifications can lead to incredible transformations and result in positive change for all.
Here are some questions worth considering during the reflection process:
• List some things you accomplished this year that you are proud of?
• What is something you tried in your classroom this year for the first time? How did it go?
• What is something you found particularly frustrating this year?
• Which student in your class do you think showed the most improvement? Why do you think this student did so well?
• What is something you would change about this year if you could?
• Note one way that you grew professionally this year?
• What has caused you the most stress this year?
• Describe a time this year that you felt joyful about and/or inspired by the work that you do?
• What do you hope your students remember most about you as a teacher?
• What was the most valuable thing you learned this year?
• What was the biggest mistake you made this year? How can you avoid making the same mistake in the future?
• What is something you did this year that went better than you thought it would?
• What were your biggest organizational challenges this year?
• Who was your most challenging student? Why?
• In what ways did you change the lives of your students this year?
• How well did you get to know your students? How well did they get to know you?
• How did relationships with your students impact you as you got to know them better?
• What is something your teacher or class did this year that you think you will remember for the rest of your life?
• What is something you accomplished this year that you are proud of?
• What was the nicest thing someone in your class did for you this year?
• What was the most challenging part of this year for you?
• If you could change one thing that happened this year, what would it be?
• What are three things you did this year to help your classmates?
• What are the three most important things you learned this year?
• What is something that was hard for you at the start of the year but is easy or easier now?
• In what area do you feel you made your biggest improvements?
• What is your favorite part of the day in your class? Why?
• Of the books you read this year, which was your favorite? Why?
• What person at your school has made the biggest impact in your life this year? Why?
• What is something your teacher could have done to make this year better?
• What are six adjectives that best describe this school year?
• Did I partner with my child’s teacher?
• Did my child come to school prepared each day with healthy snacks, lunch, homework, supplies and a smile on his/her face?
• Did my child get enough sleep each night?
• Did my child eat a healthy breakfast before heading to school?
• Was I available for my child when s/he came home from school?
• Did I attend the school’s teacher parent conferences? Did I actively listen and follow through on suggestions that were made?
• How well did I communicate and partner with my child’s teacher?
• How did I help my child with her homework?
• Did I create a positive attitude at home to lead to a successful school year?
• Did I encourage my child to invite friends over?
• Did I praise my child for his/her efforts and successes?
• Did I celebrate his/her growth and milestones?
• Did I reinforce to my child the importance of having proper respect for his/her teachers and friends?
• Did I encourage my child to invite friends over?
• Did I teach my child to be kind and supportive to his/her peers?
• How well did my child interact with his/her classmates?
• How much did I encourage my child to do his/her best and reward his/her effort?
As the school year comes to an end, it’s important to relax and recharge, but be sure to make time to reflect too. Look back and celebrate your accomplishments and start thinking about what you can work on to better yourself and make next year an even greater success. As parents and teachers, we all want the best outcome possible for our students. Use reflection as a tool to make growth and transformation possible.
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Contact: Esther Tarkieltaub LBS1 Wilson Cerified Instructor and Social Thinking Provider at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 773-807-1083 to schedule your complimentary consultation.