If your school year started in August, you are getting close to a third of the way through the academic year. There has been time to get to know the students, set the tone of your classes, and make serious headway into the curriculum. With a third of the year done it is time for some reflection on the year so far and where you are going the rest of the year. To this end here are some prompts to help with this. You can write about them, think about them, or even talk about them with colleagues. Regardless of what method you choose, self-reflection is a great way to help focus on what has gone well, what changes you might want to make, where you want/need to invest the most time and energy, and how to do all this as the year continues.
So Far This Year:
- What has been your favorite part of the year so far? Why?
- Name one success and one failure you have had this year.
- What happened in each instance?
- How will each make you a better teacher as you go forward?
- What is one new thing you wanted to do this year? Have you done it?
- If you have done it, did it work as you wanted it to? Why or why not? Will you do it again?
- If you have not done it, why haven’t you? When will you do this thing?
- What have you struggled with this year?
- Is this a new struggle or one you deal with most years?
- How have you dealt with it in the past?
- How can you deal with it now?
- What is one thing that you did this year that you want to change for next year? Why?
- How are you going to remember to make this change?
For the Future: Focus on Your Students
- Name one student that needs some extra academic attention in your class. How can you help this student?
- Name one student who seems to be struggling in some way that is unrelated to academics.
- In what way(s) is he or she struggling?
- How can you be a force for good in this student’s life?
- How do you think your students view you this year?
- Is this how you want them to view you?
- In what ways can you continue to encourage this view or what changes can you make to get them to a more preferable view?
For the Future: Focus on Yourself
- What is one change you what to make to your classes? How and when are you going to implement this change?
- What is one professional improvement that you want to accomplish before the year is over?
- How might you go about doing this?
- Who can you look to for support to accomplish this?
- Do you still love what you do?
- If you do, make a list of all the reasons why you love what you do. Post this list somewhere you can see it when you are having a bad day or a student is driving you crazy.
- If you don’t, make a list of what makes you not love your current situation. Look at each item on the list. Are they little things that you can make small changes and fix, or are they big things that you need to make some major life changes to address? Write down your thoughts and what you might want to do about these things.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!
This Week’s Featured Product
Great for around Thanksgiving, this lesson and activity pack includes everything you need to teach “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving” to you middle or high school class. It can be done fully in class or with portions assigned as homework and covers reading, writing, discussion, vocabulary, and more. For more details or to download this product, click here!
This Week’s Journal Questions
Since above are some pretty heavy questions, let’s lighten thing up here.
For everyone: If you were a superhero, what would your superhero name be and what would be your super power?
A Recipe from My Kitchen:
Pumpkin-y Muffins with Crunchy Topping
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- A pinch of salt
- 4 Tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 Tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
- Preheat your oven to 375º. Line muffin tins with muffin wrappers and spray each with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Hint: This recipe makes exactly 17 muffins for me.
- If you are using a muffin pan with more cups than you need, put a few tablespoons of water into each empty cup before you stick the pan in the oven. This will help keep the pan from warping from the heat.
- Mix flour, sugar, spice, and salt together.
- Drizzle the melted butter over the top.
- Stir until the mixture is thoroughly mixed and resembles wet sand.
- Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, spice, baking powder, and salt together until well combined.
- In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Once these are together, stir in the butter until mixture is thoroughly combined.
- Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture until just combined, making sure to scrap the bottom and sides of the bowl so none is missed.
- Fill your muffin cups to the rim.
- Hint: This is 4 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons for me.
- I have cookie scoops that work great for filling muffin cups very neatly. They look like ice cream scoops. When you squeeze the handle, they dispense your batter out in one neat half-sphere. I have a 2 Tablespoon scoop and a 2 teaspoon scoop, and they cover just about everything I could need them for.
- Sprinkle the topping over the muffin batter–about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons for each muffin.
- Bake muffins for 25 or so minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the tops are slightly brown.
- Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Remove muffins from pans and cool at least 5 more minutes.