Friday, July 10, 2015


For me, this year has revolved around goal-setting. I set personal goals for myself: attend a self-defense class, rebuild a relationship with my parents, start spending time with my sister. I also set, and re-set, professional goals for myself: manage a reading workshop in my classroom, hold midterm and final interviews with my ELA students, run a workshop on interview-style assessments for teachers in my catchment area. I modeled setting these goals with my homeroom, showing them that I was a learner, a goal-setter, a person interested in bettering myself. They set goals, too, ones that stayed on display in my classroom from September until January. I also set goals with my ELA classes - reading goals, writing goals, goals based on criteria for particular assignments. So many goals.

The missing piece of my year has been reflection. Though over the year my students and I achieved many of our goals, personal, academic, and otherwise, we didn't pause to reflect on our progress. We didn't slow down to evaluate whether we had fully met our goals, or what our next steps should be. So, we set goals, but still remained stagnant, in a way. Or, at the very least, didn't take pause to leverage the success we had and capitalize on where it could take us next.

Now, my colleagues and my principal would tell you that I am, in fact, a very reflective teacher. I constantly evaluate how my lessons have gone, how my interactions with students and my peers have gone, and how I can improve my practice. This year I was nominated for and won a provincial award for my excellence in teaching. But for me, there was something missing in my practice this year and it has been the other half of my gung-ho goal-setting. Reflection is important, and I do reflect, but my mirror needs to focus on specific things in order to be most effective.

I think, in part, I have not turned the mirror back on my goals (and thus not encouraged my students to do the same) because I have been unsatisfied with the outcomes of some of my more challenging goals. I need to remind myself that part of the purpose of setting goals is evaluating them and re-setting them when they aren't working. Re-setting doesn't mean giving up - it's about focusing our efforts so that we can be effective and successful. It does not mean turning away, it's about working smarter.

This is something I aim to accomplish through blogging and journaling in the year to come. This summer, in particular, my goal (one of many) is to blog and reflect on writing with the Teacher's Write community. Hopefully, venturing into a safe, but public, space to reflect and write will keep me motivated to stay the course! Here's to a summer of growth!

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