Take a Deep Breath and ReflectBrooks
One of the most underrated and valuable strategies that teachers can use to improve their teaching is reflection. Whether this is the end of the school year for you—as it is for many elementary Spanish teachers—or not, you can reap the benefits of reflection. Reflection brings insight into what your strengths and weaknesses are. Reflection gives you a clear picture of what you do well and what you can improve. Reflection allows you to imagine new ways to build on your strengths and utilize the things that you do well with maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
It’s very difficult to gain this kind of insight when you are in the middle of your daily routine. In teaching there are always many distractions and lots of work to accomplish. Ideally, reflection takes you out of this busy routine and gives you the opportunity to process thoughts and ideas that are always running below the surface of your state of mind.
In order to reflect effectively, I like to get away from my classroom environment by going for a walk or getting in a relaxing space at home. Then I just try to think about my classes without getting caught up in the stress of thinking about the daily tasks of teaching. I ask myself, “What is working well? What concerns do I have? Is there something that has been bothering me? Is there something I’ve been wanted to celebrate? Is there something I’ve been wanting to try? Is there something that I need to communicate?” I’ve also found it very effective to reflect on specific students in order to gain insight into how I am addressing individual learning styles and needs. If my reflection brings me any profound insights or specific actions that I want to take, I always write these down. Otherwise they slip beneath my awareness and don’t become practice. So whether you are heading into summer break or in the middle of a trimester or year-round schedule, now is a great time to take a deep breath and reflect.