Why Bother to Reflect?
I just recently completed my yearly evaluation. This is a serious survey because it determines whether I will be hired back as a teacher or not.
This annual performance measurement is a twenty page document called a Self Reflection. I rate myself, as a teacher, in four domains and six sub domains. The scoring categories include; unsatisfactory, basic, proficient or distinguished. After I enter my scores, my principal and I look at them together. Thankfully, he was pleased with my performance this year and as a result, recommended to the school board that I be rehired next year. I am grateful to know that I get to keep my job.
My Personal Musings
Any teacher knows that self reflection is a constant variable in this particular profession. We ponder while we plan our lessons, muse on them while we teach them and then mull over the results afterward. Was I prepared? Were my students engaged? Did they actually learn what I wanted them to learn? What can I do better next time?
While my profession requires me to be a reflective person so as to not stagnate as a teacher, my life also requires this same practice in order to grow into a better individual. Without evaluating what I’ve done and what I want to do; where I’ve been and where I want to go, I won’t be moving forward in life.
Though I do not need to be as formal with a personal self reflection as I am with my professional self reflection, there are some similarities between the two. First of all, self reflection means to consider my areas of weakness. Ignoring my deficiencies, whether on the job or in my personal life, will only make me more deficient. On the other hand, when I recognize where I fall short, then I can find ways to improve.
On another note, self reflecting also includes knowing my strong points. This knowledge gives me a good basis for furthering my strengths and sharpening my points of weakness. Knowing where I am strong is as equally important as knowing where I am weak.
Another category I consider, whether in my profession or regular day to day exchanges with others, is my mistakes. If I am not learning from them, then I am only repeating them. Teaching the same failed lesson in my classroom again and again guarantees failure for my students and for me. The same holds true for my relationships outside my classroom. I do not want to repeat the same impatientient or rude attitudes that show up toward my spouse or friends. A repeat of these attitudes ensures my decline of any close or trusting relationships.
Finally, what are the values that drive my stride toward being a better teacher, wife, or friend? What is so important about getting better at being who I am? For me, it is the difference between living an unsatisfactory life and a distinguished life.
Why bother to reflect? When we take the time to muse, ponder, mull over, dwell on and consider how we are doing in our lives, then we know the true score of our lives.