We made it - the end of the year!!! While many seem to be racing to the last day of school, June can be a time for really great reflection. Once the kids leave and we hand in the final papers to the main office, we are free to go enjoy our summer. However I always like to take some time to look back and take it all in. I do this exercise at the end of every year. If this isn’t part of your practice, I encourage you to give it a try. Ask yourself:
What went well?
It’s so easy to focus on all of the things that went wrong throughout the year - the tough kids, the long meetings, the difficult interactions with a parent or administrator... But focus on what went well! Celebrate those things!
What new lesson did you try that the kids loved?
This is too often overlooked and you NEED to take the time to acknowledge when you were brave and tried something new. What did they love? What did they learn? What "ah-ha" moments did you witness? These moments are so important to hold on to. They are the stuff that motivates us to keep going when things get tough - and they do!
What was one thing a student said to you that made you feel validated as a teacher?
Kids are honest with us (sometimes brutally honest). They do not have a hidden agenda when they share something heartfelt and they mean the words they say. What did someone say to you this year that made you feel great about your work? What filled your heart or made you smile?
It’s really important to do this exercise thoughtfully. I find it helpful in mentally closing up the year and to start summer break. Your next thought might be to think about the things that didn’t go so well and then make a plan to change it up for next year and set up some goals...however, I like to sit in this positive reflection for a while. I want space to breathe in all of the things that went right this year, and you should do the same. They’ll be plenty of time to think about all that other stuff. We made a difference in so many lives and there were so many wonderful moments to be proud of. Keep these thoughts in the forefront of your mind as you clean up your classroom and head into summer. You have the most important job in the world and you did so many things incredibly well!! Pat yourself on the back and go relax - you’ve earned it!