With the holiday break right around the corner, students are at their peak levels of hyperactivity, which means that school staff members can’t wait to escape the building to enjoy a few coveted student-free days. Despite the desire for teachers and school leaders to leave all thoughts of work at the door, it is important to take a moment over the break to reflect on the school year thus far. The stretch between September and November has flashed by and it is easy to continue hitting the “go” button, but sometimes it is necessary to reset in order to redirect in the right direction.
A few questions to keep in mind over the break:
1. What kind of relationships have I built with students? With staff members?
Relationships are the foundation of meaningful learning and growth--when we respect, trust and admire those we work with, we are motivated to go the extra mile to give others what they need to succeed. Building positive relationships with students allows for more productive instruction and an easier time managing the classroom. Similarly, building trust with staff members creates room for collaboration and a cohesive school culture -- students mirror the behavior and expectations of the adults around them!
2. Did my students accomplish the goals that they had set out for themselves?
Revisiting student goals can help you recognize what is working and what is not. Encouraging students to reflect back on their progress since the beginning of the school year also gives them a better understanding of how they can adjust their work habits and behavior in order to be more successful moving forward.
3. What are my personal strengths as an educator? Secretary? School leader?
Identify the strengths that make you a positive contributor to your school! Capitalizing on your strengths will make you more effective with students and staff members.
4. What is my vision for education and am I fulfilling it through my work?
It is important to articulate your vision for a quality education and determine the values and lessons that you want students to learn. Using this vision as your compass, take moments to check back in to determine if you are sticking to your values.
5. Do I love my work?
Working in schools is tiring. Many days are stressful and thankless. Despite this, believing in the work that you are doing and recognizing that you are making a positive difference in the lives of others makes education worthwhile.
Improving school operations, school leadership and classroom instruction requires consistent attention to personal responsibility and an urgency to contribute to your school community. Those who work in schools fully deserve the upcoming break, but it is important to spare a few moments to reflect, recharge and return to school ready to continue serving students.