Welcome to the end of the weirdest year ever (unless you are a January-December school). Whether you are already on your holiday, or still wrapping up like me, this has definitely been a trying school year. Most schools have had severe disruptions thanks to the novel coronavirus, and many of us have made a superhuman overnight switch to remote learning! Here in Singapore, this was following a fall in which activities and trips were canceled or altered thanks to “the haze” (the incapacitating pollution that comes from palm oil farming on nearby islands).
So as we stagger to the last day, I’m going through my normal end-of-year reflections. But having an even-higher-than-normal level of exhaustion this year has caused me to think about my year through a lens of sustainability. I’m told I have a tendency to be hard on myself sometimes, so I’m being sure to highlight successes. But I also have a habit of working too hard, draining myself, and it’s just not healthy anymore. So with that, here are four categories of reflections for you to think constructively about your year.
1. Celebrate good times: What did you achieve? What student successes were there? Take time to start your reflection on a positive note, remembering all the amazing things that you have accomplished and the strides your students made.
2. Let go: What are you doing that you need to give up in order to make next year better? Are there systems, structures, or routines that don’t serve you or your students anymore? Let go of them. “But that’s how we’ve always done it” is a red flag that I’m paying more attention to now. Are there things that don’t line up with your evolving values and philosophy? Let them go. Things you do reluctantly because your colleagues or admin want you to? It’s time for them to go too.
3. Reclaim your time: Look at your year overview. Transfer the big things, important things, over to a list or directly to the next calendar. Take time to plan ahead, and set aside time for things that are important, and set aside time for your own transformational thinking. Do it right now, while all this is still fresh in your brain. Do it while you still remember what you realized you should or shouldn’t do next time. You’ll thank yourself in September.Reflecting on your school year: Think about these 4 things to plan and prioritize ahead of next year! #edchat #teacherlife Click To Tweet
4. Keep learning: Network and connect with like-minded people, connect with relevant professional organizations and more casual organizations that focus on your own teaching philosophies. Look for conferences, summits, and communities; sign up for courses that are either online or in person. Over the weekend, I presented at the International Music Education Summit, which is great PD for music teachers that is accessible on demand. You can still head over and access replays of the sessions.
If you are heading into your summer break now, be sure to really take some time off. We are undoubtedly heading into some unwanted changes for the next school year, but hopefully there is also space for you to make next year a successful one. What are your reflections from this year?