Good teachers reflect.
Hands down, this is one of the most important lessons to me as an aspiring teacher (and as a blogger!). Without the benefit of reflection, I’d continue making the same mistakes again and again, watching myself fall short, and not actively pursuing improvement. If you don’t reflect, you want see where you need work and look for ways to get better.
Like the teacher who illustrated organization for me, another teacher demonstrated her personal commitment to this principle by promoting it amongst her students.
This fifth grade class had to do some things I’ve only come across once:
- They had to keep a log with their reflections about how they performed on tests. I peeked at it as students were writing on them. The log had a chart for them to fill out which said things like, “On this test, I would like to make a score of _____. To accomplish this, I will _____________.” On the other side, it had space for them to write how well they actually did on the test, if they reached their goal, and what they could do to keep doing well or do better next time. I think it’s great for students to have something tangible that shows them their goals and makes them think about how to work to achieve them. Being consistent with this log must take a lot of work, but I bet it pays off. I think writing goals and reviewing them gives you a little more incentive to get them done.
- The class also had “reflection journals” which they wrote in during the last few minutes of the day. Nothing fancy. Just a little summary of how their day went, what they learned and what they may need to work tomorrow. Simple, but it encourages students to reflect on their classroom experiences. It’s a good way to bring closure to the day.
I think this teacher had some great ideas on having her students set goals and think about how to bring them to fruition. From spending the day with them, I presume the teacher spends a lot of time reflecting and making strides towards her own goals. I wish her a lot of luck because she certainly motivated me to do the same.
This concludes this installment of What Good Teachers Do. I’ll be on the lookout for more good teaching tips and ideas from the good teachers I encounter.