If you’re looking out the window for the answers, you’re looking in the wrong place. Instead, look in the mirror.
The most important work we do as educators is helping our students learn and grow. However, in order for us to be better for our students and continue to help support their growth we need to make sure that we are giving ourselves the best chance to learn and grow along the way. When we think about our students’ learning and the challenges we face helping them grow, it is easy to blame outside factors when things aren’t going the right way. Maybe it’s the parents, a lack of effort by the students, a background of trauma, or even a full moon. Any of these reasons are convenient excuses, and they may well play a factor, but we should look at ourselves first.
Back in December I wrote about reflection and suggested taking the time to think about the past calendar year and allow yourself the time to identify goals for 2020. I hope you went through that process and have gotten yourself off to a good start in the new year, this would be a great time to stop and check-in with those goals and make adjustments as needed!
As we begin the second semester of the school year we’ve come to another natural time for reflection. When you look back at the first semester and consider the challenges you’ve overcome and those that you continue to face, try to identify the main obstacles. Our natural tendency as human beings is to look outward, through the window, at external causes and blame those obstacles for the challenges we face. However, what if we started by looking in the mirror and examining how we could improve?
I strive to improve myself each day, in at least some small way. Without taking the time to look in the mirror and reflect I would never be able to meet that goal. I have bigger, long-term goals as well as more bite-sized, short-term goals that help me stay focused on the present while keeping an eye on the future. This, however, isn’t easy work. I frequently rely on mentors, colleagues, friends, and family to help me achieve my goals. Sometimes I seek specific advice from these people but many times I just need someone to hold the mirror for me, so to speak, and give me honest feedback. Going through the process of reflecting, learning, and growing is not easy but the opportunity to be better every day is something that energizes me and makes all of the challenge worth it in the end.
We’re at the mid-year point here at school. Whether you are being formally observed this school year or not I want you all to know that I’m more than happy to help hold the mirror up for you as you go through this reflection process, please don’t hesitate to ask!!