This week, we are talking about End of the Year teacher reflections, which marks our final installment in our End of the Year blog post series.
This four part series discussed:
- Week 1 – End of the Year Classroom Management
- Week 2 – Favourite End of the Year Lessons, Assignments, and Units
- Week 3 – Special End of the Year Activities for Students
- Week 4 – End of the Year Teacher Reflections
Some of the most important things we can do as educators are to help students learn to reflect on their new learnings and experiences. I try to work reflection into various assignments throughout the year, as well as a major push during the last month of school.
As teachers, we also need to take the time to really reflect on our year and think about what we need to Stop, Start, and Continue for the following year. When we evaluate our current teaching practices and ideas, we make room for professional growth and seek out development opportunities. End of the year teacher reflections should be done before summer break begins because, after a summer of rest and relaxation, all of those challenges we had during the school year seem to get forgotten.
I created this one-page teacher reflections graphic organizer to help teachers dig into reflecting on their teaching practices.
When I sat down to write this blog post, I used the Stop, Start, and Continue graphic organizer to help me organize my reflective thoughts.
STOP: Wasting my commuting time. I want to make it a priority to download podcasts for my long commute. I am in the car for over an hour a day – that is a lot of time to listen to podcasts and/or audiobooks.
START: Scheduling time to exercise. I come home from a day of teaching exhausted – all I want to do is put on my pyjamas and watch TV. This is not good for my physical health! I also need to start asking other teachers how they organize make-up work for absent students. Can I get a personal assistant to help me manage all of the forms we have to collect as teachers?
CONTINUE: I cannot tell you how my students evolved in their reading skills this year with the implementation of daily silent reading. I kept students accountable through conferences and reading journals. They also became better writers and critical thinkers as they worked through their weekly article of the week assignments.
I have linked the photos below to these assignments so you can see what my students worked on this year.
End of the Year Teacher Reflections
Recently, I was discussing this upcoming blog post series with fellow teacher bloggers, and they sent me these reflections about the importance of end of the year teacher reflections:
Teacher Reflections from Lauralee from Language Arts Classroom:
“I recently took several years off from teaching to raise a young family. I returned to teaching this school year. In that time off, I reflected on my years of teaching, of my students, of my successes and failures. One commonality that wove between my happy memories was of those final days of the school year. It makes sense – students are relaxed, you’ve built a community, and summer is almost tangible. As an adult, you can see how these young people have grown over a year, and you can imagine how they will continue to mature.
Those final days are happy memories where you can witness the growth of your students and become excited about their futures. As the end of the school year approaches, take some time to appreciate what you have done as a teacher. You have created relationships with young people, you have watched them grow, and you have taught them important skills. You deserve the happiness that accompanies these realizations.”
Teacher Reflections from Lisa from Mrs. Spangler in the Middle:
“At the end of the year, I think about my systems and how they can be tweaked for improved performance. One system that I am thinking about changing for next year is having students complete a study log before each test. This will allow me to verify that students have actually studied, and I can keep it for parent conferences. I may even give bonus points for completing it with a parent’s signature.
I’m also considering creating a small unit at the very beginning of the year to go over basic computer skills in my class. It’s the end of the year, and I’m still reminding students how to log out properly. I can avoid this frustration if I tackle it head-on next year. I’m always looking for ways to improve, and at the end of the year, I enjoy being able to find ways to make the next year even better.”
Teacher Reflections from Melissa from Reading and Writing Haven:
“Effective teachers, by nature, are reflective. Most evaluation systems (such as the increasingly popular Charlotte Danielson framework) are moving toward an approach that demands frequent reflection and for good reason. I’ve taught for eleven years, and the one practice that has helped me grow, improve, and become more confident in my abilities is daily reflection. The end of the year, especially, is the perfect time to look back on choices I’ve made (regarding curriculum, technology, classroom management, parent communication, etc.) because I can see how all of those decisions played out.
It’s a humbling process … this notion of being honest with ourselves and admitting imperfections. But, it’s in the admission of weakness that we can transform our teaching. Reflection gives me the inspiration to create new units and activities, to try or devise new instructional approaches, to better appreciate my students, to find a more appropriate balance between my work life and home life, and to conduct research in areas where I know I want to improve.
To me, reflection is more valuable than any professional development session I’ve attended. Life is busy. Teachers are busier. This summer, take time to be still, think about your year, and set goals that will send you soaring into the next academic calendar.”
Taking the time to focus on teacher reflections at the end of the school year can be extremely beneficial. I hope you took away their importance from this blog post. If you would like to share your own teacher reflections, connect with me on social media (@2peasandadog) and let me know.
End of the Year Lessons
- Engaging Middle School End of the Year Lessons
- End of the Year Mega Bundle
- Graduation Songs For Ceremonies and Slideshows