This time of the year is a maddeningly reflective time of year.
Though I have just over a month left before I dial up Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’ and tear out of the parking lot, I feel deep in reflection mode.
I’ve already met with my principal about my year-end reflection. My team and I met to plan the tasks and assessments that will run out the year of our common courses. We had our school planning day, and the new member of our team was there. She’s a former student of mine, and the daughter of a beloved former principal. We’re finding out what our schedules will look like next year, and have been discussing what elements of this year will carry over, and how we’ll tweak things. I’m getting ready to start a project that I love with my Grade 10 class, and I’m looking at how we do it this year, to make it the best iteration of the project. And, well, the last few weeks have been crazy, personally, and professionally, so I’ve been catching up on the stack of marking.
Reflection is such a vital part of what we do. We need to look at what we’ve done, and decide whether it merits doing again, and likely, how it can be done better. A cool part of sharing so openly, here on Moving Writers, and via Twitter, is that I actually get a lot of feedback on things, which adds a really cool element to the reflection. I have an amazing team that I work with, and great students who I can discuss things with, and a solid community online to help me work better.
I tweeted earlier this week about my excitement about Elizabeth Ooosterheert’s whipstitch poetry post, because it tied into something I was reflecting upon, how to add a new element to my use of poetry as a literary analysis tool. I love that kind of serendipity in a PLN! I swear, it’s like she was a couple doors down the hall, and shared an idea she was excited about, that aligned with my plans perfectly. (In another serendipitous moment, Karla also posted about reflection this week!)
In the past week, I’ve been reading a number of pieces that came out of our study of Dead Poets Society that I shared here recently. Those pieces made me want to revisit that post here. It wasn’t my intention to have my writers writing intensely reflective pieces that gave me insights into their lives, and reflections upon our school and learning community, but that’s what I got. I was blown away by their openness, and how readily they shared their thoughts, opinions and selves. I found myself making notes not only about the things I saw in their writing related to craft, but a set of notes about their reflections, about how they felt in our school. If this series of activities yields you the kinds of results I got, it’s well worth your time.
Reflection is an important teaching tool. Sharing that reflection is important too. Hence this post. I know some of you are already done for the year, some are wrapping up very soon, and others, like myself, have a decent chunk of time left. If you’re like me, your perpetually reflecting, but when we’re within sight of the end, it’s so much more important to reflect. I shared some of my reflection here because such sharing allows the benefit of the sharing process touch others.
What went well this year? What could have gone better? What would you like to share with others?