“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience” — John Dewey
Being a teacher does not mean that I have all of the answers. In fact, as a first year teacher, it basically guarantees the reality that I have so much to learn. And so, in an effort to fulfill the notion that I am both a teacher and a student ALWAYS, I have made it a necessity to reflect on my teaching and call into question whether or not I like what I see.
As my first year comes to a close, I cannot help but wonder what I have done to get to this point in the school year. What the heck was I doing in the classroom in September? Why did I think that idea would work? Did the students truly accomplish all that I set out for them to achieve?
Undoubtedly, the perfectionist in me quickly took to identifying all of the deficiencies that exist in my teaching. And yet, the way I see it, I can choose to run from these mistakes or confront them head on to continue to grow in this profession.
Doing so requires criticism; it takes looking in the mirror of my own educational practices to ask if I like what is reflected back at me. However, if I have the audacity to ask my students to challenge themselves to be the best they can be on a regular basis, then I owe it to them to continually reflect on my ways with similar ends in mind.
Thankfully, I work in an environment where collaboration is king…An environment where I can declare my passion in an effort to challenge and be challenged…An environment where I can work alongside others for professional improvement and student learning above all else.
I am extremely grateful for those who have afforded me the opportunity to work in conjunction with them to transform student learning this past year. And as I look at the past, I also cannot help but get excited as I look to the future to build off of the momentum that was made this year.