Self-Reflection During Crazy Times

We all know that the end of the school year can be a crazy time.  Between testing, squeezing in those last few important lessons, and all the special programs, every day can feel like an eternity of sprints.  As out of breath as we are, it can be easy to forget that the end of the year should also be a time for a little bit of reflection.  Not only does reflection help bring a sense of closure to the year, but it can also help inform your teaching for years to come.
To help direct the reflection, there are three big questions I like to address in my classroom:
  1. For my students:  What is an (or the most) important thing you learned in my class this year?  Why is this so important?
  2. For my students:  If you could tell them one thing, what would you tell students who will be starting this class in the fall?  Explain.
  3. For myself:  What have I learned from my students and my teaching this year?  How can I incorporate what I have learned into my future teaching?

The first two I like to use as prompts for either class discussion or journaling (or both) depending on the time I have the nature of a given class.  Both encourage the students to think about overarching concepts and curriculum.  Often though, the responses I get have little to do directly with my year’s curriculum and more to do with development of my students as life-long students and as people–something that I find even more valuable.  These are the responses that meant the most to me.


Here are a few past responses to the first two questions:

“I learned that I can stand up in front of a big group and perform!  And it is fun!”

“I learned that my papers really are better when I proofread them.”

“I enjoy class discussions and enjoy sharing my thoughts.”

“I would tell future students that Shakespeare is awesome!  I can’t wait until next year when we get to study it again!”


For me as a teacher, no matter what grade that student is earning on his or her report card, these responses qualify as success!


The third question is one that I like to spend some time thinking about.  Often I share some of my thoughts with my students.  I believe that it is good for students to hear that I learn from them as well as expecting them to learn from me.  Being specific, sometimes even referencing specific students, classes, or lessons, can be very effective.


After you and your students have considered and shared responses to these questions, I encourage you to use the answers to inform your future teaching.  Maybe this means more deliberately focusing on an underlying lesson, maybe no one is seeing the value in a lesson that you want to focus more on, maybe you want to see  all your students finding value in a lesson only some are getting.  Regardless of what it is, this feedback is valuable to both you and your students–I encourage you to use it!

Teach On!

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This Week’s Featured Product:
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Like the idea of student feedback?  Looking for a great way to get additional information about your teaching?  I have used these forms for over a decade with very useful results. For more information or to purchase this product, click here!
This Week’s Journal Questions
For the teacher:  Who was one of your mentors as a young person?  How did that person make a difference in your life?  How do you make a difference in the lives of those you are a mentor to?
For the student:  Who is one of your mentors?  Why is this person important in your life?  Do they know that they are important to you?
A Recipe from My Kitchen:

Weeknight Enchiladas

So yummy for dinner and great as leftovers!


  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-4 tomatoes, chopped or 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 12 corn or wheat tortillas
  • 2 large cooked chicken breasts or leftover chicken meat, cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • Optional:  sour cream and salsa for garnish


  1. Sauté onion and garlic in the oil.
  2. Add tomatoes, sauce, chilies, cumin, salt, oregano, and basil.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  6. Dip one tortilla in the sauce to coat and soften it.  Place some chicken and 2 tablespoons of cheese on the tortilla.  Roll it up and place it seam-side-down in a 9×13 inch pan.  Repeat with all tortillas.
  7. Blend yogurt into the remaining sauce and pour over the tortillas.  Top with the rest of the cheese.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.
  10. Hint:  Double or triple your sauce recipe and then freeze the extra.  When you need an even quicker meal, pull one of the batches out of the freezer–thaw and begin at step 5.

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