Thursday, September 26, 2013

If You're Not Reflecting, You're Not Trying

Without question, one of the most important things I do as an educator is reflect. I'm always amazed when I talk to other educators and ask them about their reflection process and many do not have a set way of doing things. Many say they just tweak on the fly and look at it before the teach it again. That process just terrifies me.

It took me many years to figure this out, but reflection during and after lessons, sessions, presentations, etc. is crucial if I want to continue to grow as a professional. Everything I do is under constant scrutiny because I want to be better. Being better requires reflection and I challenge people to argue otherwise. 

The next step after reflection is making changes where they are needed. Just thinking about what you have done does not mean anything if you do not take action. If something is broke, fix it. If something is not working, do something completely new. Education is a constantly changing creature and our lessons need to evolve with the rest of education to ensure that we are doing what is best for our students. Reflection and change are crucial parts in the process of providing the best education for the students in front of us. 

Please, do not tell me there is not enough time. I'm tired of hearing it. We are all busy. We have friends, families, lives, etc. That doesn't mean we shirk our responsibility to become better at our jobs. Reflection and change is how we can be better. Standing pat because everything seems to be "working just fine" is a lame excuse for not changing. I'm not saying just change everything because change is great. I'm saying take a look at what you do and change what needs to be changed. 

Change will never be easy. I hate change to some degree, but I hate not being the best at my job even more. The day I stop reflecting is the day I stop trying to be the best teacher I can. 

Our students, parents, principals, superintendents and everyone else involved in eduction expect teachers to give their very best every day in the classroom. That might not be possible, but we need to try. If we fail, we fail nobly in an effort to be the best. 

Take some time this year and reflect on your profession and see where you can make some meaningful changes for you and for the students.