Strengths Based Reflection

As the semester has drawn to a close there has been a lot of reflection happening.  Kids, parents, teachers…everyone is thinking back on half a school year’s worth of efforts and thinking about how they can grow and improve.

It’s a refreshing but tiring time of year.  With thoughts of an extended holiday on our minds it is sometimes tough to sit back and think about all that has occurred.  As I sat with a middle school boy today and talked about his growth (sometimes lack thereof) so far this year it dawned on me, reflecting is HARD!

Very rarely do we sit down and focus solely on the positives.  In fact, many times people sit down and think about, “Oh man, what went wrong?  What can I do better?”  This kind of thinking is exhausting and defeating.  So as I was reflecting on reflecting today I drew a connection to a conversation I had with a teacher earlier this morning.  We need to practice what we preach.

With students who are constantly testing our patience and require discipline, or negative interactions, we need to build ‘credit’ by forcing positive interactions.  For example, when contacting a parent about their child’s misbehavior it’s important to show that we aren’t focused totally on their negative behavior.  To do this, we include some compliments or point out some of the positive interactions that have occurred with that student.  Then we can get into the details of the areas for growth.  Similarly, when we write our reports we aim for “two stars and a wish”.  The goal being to celebrate the positive and target potential areas of improvement.  This is how we have to treat self-reflection as well.

I’m going to keep this (relatively) short this week and ask you to take some time over the semester break to self-reflect.  Start with focusing on what went well this past semester, taking a moment to celebrate your growth as a professional.  As you do this, progress into thinking about goals and targets for the next semester.  What kind of things would you like to strengthen and improve from the first half of the year into the second?

Self-reflection is an important part of the growth process but focusing solely on the negatives won’t lead to the desired growth…start first by thinking about your strengths and the positives you want to draw on.  Build on the positives, keep working on your strengths as well as any areas of growth you identify.

Happy semester break and Carnival.  Enjoy the break!!

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