Being a teacher, you have the advantage of a long summer break which is often the envy of all non-teachers. This can be a time for catching up with family and friends, getting round to all those things you put off during the manic school year or simply just taking time to recharge your batteries which were seriously depleted during term time. This break can also serve a different purpose- a time for reflection. The school year is often frenetic—endless GCSE preparation, marking and assessment, the detailed planning, paperwork and developing your own teaching skills are just some of the tasks which keep one extremely busy. It’s hard enough just being able to stop for a cup of tea let alone find time for reflection. Cue summer time!
This summer I made a conscious intention to reflect on my own personal practice. Judging by my observations and student results it’s safe to say I am a good-outstanding classroom practitioner. However, I have taken little time during my 7 year teaching career to consciously think about what makes me ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. What is it that gets good results? How do I manage to motivate those huge Year 11 boys with beards bigger than my own? I found that it’s a combination of things:
-ultra firm discipline
-strong subject knowledge
These are just a few and be no means a complete list. My extensive reflection process over the summer revealed a lot about my own practice. I consciously began to ponder what helped me to secure some of the best 4 levels of progress in the department for my Year 11 class. Why is it that my Year 13 A2 group did not perform as well as they could have? What makes my behaviour management so much stronger with Year 10 than Year 9? It’s only through conducting a detailed and rigorous reflection process was I able to get to the root of these things, both good and bad. For those wishing to complete the process, here is a guide to how I did it.
1-Broke the reflection focus down into four crucial areas of teaching a)planning b)behaviour management c)subject knowledge d)teaching and learning
2-Worked backwards by Year group from Year 13-Year7
3-Wrote my reflections down using WWW (what went well) and EBI (even better if) for each area with every Year group.
4-Did the process over a few days as opposed to thrashing away at it for hours on end#
The results? Well, the process was quite a long one but the findings about myself were amazing. I now have my own mini SEF (self-evaluation form) for my teaching practise. Not bad I say.