The school year is coming to a close which means it is time to reflect on the past year to help you determine what worked, what didn’t, and what you can improve on for next year.
But simply being told to reflect can be overwhelming. Instead, take a look at these top ten questions you should be asking yourself at the end of every school year. Reflecting on the school year doesn’t have to be hard, just treat this list like your own homework assignment so you can head into summer vacation with a clear head!
- What are my favorite highlights of the school year, and how can I create more highlights next school year?
Some of these highlights may be organic and come from the students, and some may come from the way students reacted to different lessons. What about these highlights stands out? Did they occur because of the material, the assignment, the students, or your attitude during that time? Try to figure it out and make plans to allow more of these highlights to happen next school year.
- What areas in my classroom am I very proud of? What areas make me anxious and stressed?
You’ve got your files perfectly organized in a system that is easy to use, but looking at your classroom library makes you cringe. Take note of what you like about classroom spaces that you’re proud of and figure out how you can use those notes to improve areas of your classroom you dislike.
- When were my students at their best this year? When were they at their worst?
Make note of when your students excelled, not only in grades, but participation, classroom engagement, and in terms of behavioral issues. What times of year did students fall short of your expectations? Maybe it was during a specific unit of study or maybe it was during certain times of year. Once you identify this you can take steps to improve it for next year.
- Who was my most challenging student this year and what did I do to help them succeed?
Think about the student in your classroom that gave you the most grief. Did you rise up to the challenge to help change their behavior? What worked and what didn’t? What could you have done differently?
- What areas of teaching do I excel at and what areas could use improvement?
Maybe you create creative, in-depth lesson plans but don’t have time to implement them, or maybe you’re great at improving test scores but not so great at building a comfortable classroom community. Take a closer look at what you’re good at and think about ways you can get even better. Next, look at what needs improvement.
- What am I most excited about for next year?
This is a great exercise to see if you even are excited for another year of teaching. Are there any teacher conferences coming up? Have you heard good things about your new students? Have you been looking into the latest teaching strategies? If you aren’t excited, start doing something to get yourself excited.
- Which coworkers do I get along with and which ones do I not? Why?
It can be tempting to answer this question too briskly but take your time to really think about your answer. Your colleagues have a huge impact on your work life. Think about why you don’t have a positive relationship with other staff members and come up with some strategies to either get to know these individuals or repair a damaged relationship.
- How was my work/life balance, and what can I do to improve it?
It is practically impossible to complete all of your work responsibilities during your 40 hours a week at school, but it is still important that you maintain a healthy work/life balance. Think about what is taking up most of your time outside of instruction, and find ways to make that take less time. Read more about this in our blog post Work Better At School & Less At Home.
- What would make my life as a teacher easier?
Think about what lacks efficiency in your classroom and what can be done to fix that. Let yourself consider every option, no matter how much it costs. Do you need new school furniture? Are you behind when it comes to the latest technology? Are you grading too much? Think about what you can do to make your job easier without placing a burden on your students, then decide what is feasible (including expense-wise).
- What areas of my curriculum were strong? What areas were not?
Think about everything you covered in your class this year. Make note of the lessons you did and the assignments you gave. Were they strong? Long enough? Too long? Look for any holes in your lessons that need to be fixed up.
Check out the rest of our blog for posts to help you out, or browse our Teacher Resources products on our website!