Questions for Self-Reflection: Thriving through the End of the Year

Now is the time, historically, when teachers and students rightfully so start the “end of the year” struggle – now add in the 2020-2021 school year chaos. The problem is that there is still quite a bit of the school year left.

The blog is going to look a little different this week, because there’s not a specific way to self reflect, and everyone’s answers are going to be different. I’m simply going to walk you through a series of self reflection questions instead.

I know when I was in the classroom, I would almost start to feel like I was spiraling that this time. I seemed to start the day already frustrated, one small thing would set me off for the rest of the day. I found myself giving whole class punishments because I was too tired to address the actual issue with the students who were causing the problem – and if I am honest, the tasks I was having the students complete resorted to “busy work” much of the time.

There is so much power in interrupting this spiral of frustration with self-reflection. So give yourself a minute to just reflect…

How are you doing?

  • Are you tired?
  • Stressed?
  • Feeling the pressure of not being as far in your curriculum as you’re used to?
  • Frustrated with your students’ behavior?
  • Looking ahead to summer?
  • Are you maybe a little checked out?
  • Excited about seeing your students each day?
  • Still feeling innovating and creative?

Are there any actions you are doing because of these feelings that you wouldn’t do “normally”?

How are your students feeling?

  • Stressed about grades?
  • Worn down?
  • Tired of feeling like they are behind all the time?
  • Tired of wearing a mask and staying apart from their friends?
  • Feeling like they are getting trouble a lot all of a sudden?
  • Loved and welcomed in your class?
  • Excited about the relevant lessons you are planning?
  • Hopeful about the things they have learned this school year?

Are there any actions your students are doing based on these feelings?

What are your expectations of your students?

  • That their behavior is perfect?
  • That all assignments are turned in on time?
  • That they push through their tiredness to continue to be engaged and participating?
  • That they are still giving 100% in all of their classes?

What should your students expect from you?

  • That you are still giving 100% for them in your planning and facilitation.
  • That you are still glad to see them every day, and not checked out until summer?
  • That you remain consistent with your classroom management?
  • That you are happy?

What did you commit to when you became a teacher?

  • That you would facilitate instruction in a way that students understood it?
  • That you would find creative and relevant ways to deliver instruction.
  • That you would love your students?
  • That you would build your students up with encouragement?

What do you want your students to commit to?

  • Trying new things?
  • Participating in class?
  • Giving 100%?

What can you celebrate from this year so far?

You have been a warrior this year! You’ve been a force of stability for your students. You’ve been a learner and you’ve grown in so many ways. You’ve pushed through fear to be on the front lines for your students. You’ve comforted and encouraged and taught.

Don’t lose that! You’ve operated from a place of grace and love – keep that going! Your kids are worn down too, so don’t forget about that alliance you’ve worked so hard to build with them.

  1. Self reflect on how you are feeling and how your actions reflect those feelings.
  2. Reflect on your students’ actions and how they may be reflecting their feelings.
  3. Find joy in the small victories.
  4. Remember that your students deserve 100% from you, just as you expect it from them.
  5. Build a contract or have conferences with your students to set goals through the end of the year.
  6. Celebrate the victories you’ve had with your students.

Summer is right around the corner – and hopefully it will be a time of rest and rejuvenation for you, but there’s still work to do and love to give right now!

Thank you for the investment of yourself to your students! It matters.

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