In a matter of days, the weather has changed from hot, dry Santa Ana conditions threatening fire and beckoning us to the beach, to drizzly and cool with dark clouds. The change of seasons brings with it a shift of mind and mood, as if we can hear an old, familiar melody carried faintly on the breeze. Our thoughts turn to traditions and rituals, holidays and memories. In classrooms, the newness has worn off and our students are now familiar, our classroom routines becoming comfortable. When we hit this stride, we may be lulled into complacency, or we could use this shift as an opportunity to reflect.
The classroom “look-for” this month will be Time for Reflection, so together let’s shake up that complacency a little and talk about how we reflect in our own lives. For me, at this time of year, I tend to look back on my personal relationships and note if I haven’t been in touch with someone enough this year. I make sure they are on my holiday card list, but also, maybe it’s time for that overdue phone call or to meet for lunch. I also look at my charitable donations – only two months left to count those donated dollars towards my taxes! I also look at house repairs – are there any possible roof leaks? Last chance to schedule yard projects or garage sales! Is there anything else left “undone” from this calendar year?
How do you reflect at this time of year? Perhaps the Thanksgiving holiday allows you time to consider what you are grateful for. Maybe the earlier sunsets cause you to get home faster, spend more time with loved ones around the hearth. Or perhaps the impending holidays – and all the associated feasts – make you reassess your gym schedule for the next few weeks!
On the school calendar, just over 25% of the year has gone by. The end is not even nearly in sight, but it is the perfect time to check in, with ample time left to change course if needed. We as teachers, administrators, and staff can practice reflection in our own lives as a way of preparing ourselves to guide students in reflection. What have we learned so far this year in each of our roles? How are we serving our students, our clients or customers? How do we know?
If I don’t know, maybe I need to find a way to check in. In my role, that can be difficult. I don’t give quizzes or collect Exit Slips. I do send out surveys after every organized professional development event. Even so, I don’t often get a lot of feedback from my clientele. But that doesn’t mean I can’t reflect on how I am doing in reference to my own goals. One goal I have had this year is to be present on school campuses more, available to teachers and interacting with students and staff. I have to admit, I could do better. Lucky for me, it’s only November 1, and there is time.
Expect to hear from me soon about a visit to your campus!
And feel free to reach out to me to invite me on site, and to share the ways that you make time for reflection!