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Reflection... and how it can help you move forward...
by Aviva Shapiro

The school year is over, at long last. We are all more than exhausted and yet now it's the time to take a few hours and reflect on the year we've just gotten through. We still have things to finish up but all in all the bagrut is behind us, the meitzav is behind us, those of us who took (or taught) the new HOTS/ Literature course have completed it, and we have a few weeks to relax and unwind (that is if we haven't agreed to mark bagrut exams!!).

Anyways, I too am worn-out and look forward to spending time in my garden just reading a few good novels, sleeping late and not checking any essays, tests, unseens or projects. However, before I do this I need to reflect on what happened this year. I need to write down not what went wrong, but to think about what was good and why it worked. All of us have lessons that don't work, or ideas that fall flat and we tend to dwell on these failures and agonize over them. However, instead of wasting time wondering why things didn't work (which may or may not be our fault), we need to look at what did work and figure out why. And hopefully we can repeat this success in the future!!.

Learning from successes is something we rarely do. WHY?? I don't think it's always so obvious why we succeed and I do think we need to take time to reflect on why we have succeeded. There actually may be reasons for our success which we can replicate in the future.

Now, at the end of the year, it's time to reflect on what worked and why it worked. It is the time to plan ahead for next year. I need to set my goals, write them down and also figure out the steps I need to take in order to reach them. I know I may not achieve all my goals but I also know that I need to attempt to do so. I don't succeed in everything I attempt but never trying won't get me anywhere either. For years I let inertia drive me forward instead of trying to drive myself.

Now, even though I have achieved only some of my goals after lengthy demanding days at school, and have been driven home by either exhaustion or hunger (YES, it's nice to have drivers!!), I know that I am moving forward because I have reflected on my successes, learned from them and am achieving some of my goals, some of the time.

So I highly recommend that all of you hardworking, exhausted teachers take a few more hours before you put on that bathing suit and jump into the pool and drown yourself (just kidding) and reflect on what you are proud of accomplishing this year. Reflect on the little successes, the one or two students you feel you actually reached, lessons which you felt worked and so forth ... The fact that you made it through the year is no small feat either!! (Although you may not be standing on your feet!) The

There is no doubt in my mind that teachers (and especially English teachers!!) work exceptionally hard and have much more on their plates than in other professions. All teachers work 24/7, 12 months a year ( vacations??) and they need to learn how to appreciate themselves. They need to remember that they can never please all of the students (or their parents) all of the time but they certainly can make it a point to please who they can, when they can and be satisfied with this.

I truly believe in using reflection and I use it in all my classes throughout the year too. AND guess what, now it's part of the new Literature/ HOTS program so you will all be using it with your students soon if you haven't done so in the past.

So sit back relax and reflect on all the successful moments from the past year. Wishing you all many idle moments and a very restorative holiday.


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