While out to lunch with a friend of mine a few weeks ago, we began talking about her past school year as a teacher.
She said something so interesting: “I’m not sure I will always do my morning meeting this way -- I guess it’s just how I started doing them, but it really doesn’t work well at all…”
I nodded quietly and listened as she continued on about her year, and all the mistakes and regrets she had.
Finally, I couldn’t hold back anymore. I asked her,
“What are you proud of this year? What did you do this year that makes you feel joyful and happy?”
She sat quietly for a few minutes, stirring these words around in her head.
I dared not break the silence, after asking such a question.
Then, she started slowly: “Well… I’m really happy I did more with parent involvement this year. Every parent came to my classroom at least once, and I’ve never done that before…”
Suddenly, the floodgates had opened. Her wins and success from the year poured from her like Niagra Falls. She has so much to share and so much be proud of.
I watched intently as her body language shifted. She sat up and her hands moved as she demonstrated different activities. Her eyes lit up when she spoke about her coffee outing with a new colleague at work that she became close with… and so much more.
When she finished, she looked up and said, “Thank you! I needed that!”
“It’s important to learn from our mistakes, and it’s important to ask for feedback” I said. “And yet it’s equally important to honor our successes and the commitments we’ve made and honored.”
It’s critical for teachers to reflect on their year. If not, their memories of the year just remain as a bunch of loose ends and random work that doesn’t carry continued meaning for everyone on the team.
I learned so much from listening to this teacher share her wins! I was able to see how far she stretched herself and it was truly inspiring.
Sometimes we look and dig for inspiration and ways to motivate our teachers.
But really, it’s right there in our school building.
Every teacher has a powerful story and a unique journey to share.
To help you find those stories, I’ve compiled a list a twenty great questions to ask your teachers at your final reflective meeting.
Set aside enough time for your teachers to dig into each question and answer it thoughtfully. In addition, make the time for them to collaborate and share their responses with each other.
Here are some ideas on how you can help your teachers get the most out of this exercise:
- Teachers can swap questions with another teacher and read each other’s answers to learn from one another .
- You can group teachers in small pods and ask them to reflect together on what they wrote. Then, allow one member from each pod to share a story from their group with the rest of school.
- Take the time as a director to fill out these questions and share some of the answers with your teachers.
- Some of you artistic staff can create an art panel or story board that documents what everyone learned this year. You can hang it up in the hallway as a reminder for everyone when they return in September.