I am beginning the first of – I hope – many posts on ‘reflection’.
My first thought in regards to this 10 letter word is back in the good old days of Uni when reflection, to me, meant to annotate plans with how lessons went (whether positive or constructive) and writing a weekly account of the highs and lows of teaching practice. If I’m completely honest, most of the time I knew in the back of my small, packed mind that the majority of it would never be looked at again as they were used as a tick box exercise to help achieve yet another standard! Gotta love ’em eh? At the time, I remember writing every detail down ensuring that anyone who read my evaluations would understand a word I was saying despite, probably never thinking about or looking back at them again.
However, now that I’m entering my 5th year of teaching and the summer holidays are already becoming a seemingly distant blur, I’ve never reflected on so much in my life. When I have time to unwind, relax and think about something different for a change, I am constantly thinking about what would look good in the classroom or what items in the shop would come in handy one day. Is this a bad thing? I beat myself up about it because holidays are supposed to be for a break. However, there should always be a balance and that is something I have definitely got better at over the past couple of years.
Whenever a bad lesson or day occurs, and I feel down because things could have gone so much better…there has always been someone there to help me see the positive aspects. If it wasn’t for the team at my school or my mum (got to love her!) then teaching would, like the summer holidays, seem like a distant memory. The more experienced I get, the more apparent it is that I should reflect on the positive things as well as the negative ones. After all the dwelling, it is obvious that this should be a natural process but in reality, it’s sometimes difficult to get your head out of the sand!
An experienced colleague of mine recently repeated what so many have said to me before but this time, it has stuck! The advice was this; take away 3 positive moments, feelings or events of the day and move forward with them.
Without reflection, we wouldn’t right out wrongs, become the people we are or remain in the job for long! Remember: There will ALWAYS be bad experiences but the good ones will ALWAYS outweigh them all.