May 7, 2019
It’s that time again. The sweeping rush to the end of the school year and yet as endless activities swirl around me, I feel like one of those photos where I am still and everything else is moving. I don’t think I realized when I took on that one little word, reflection, how deeply it was the word for the time.
At the end of the year, we naturally reflect. We reflect on success and missed opportunities. We reflect on goals and accomplishments along with missteps. The balance is… delicate.
I have the opportunity to make a fair number of decisions, offer even more advice, have endless planned and unplanned conversation, and a little time to reflect. Our careers and daily work is based on change. Change for student may equal growth. That’s an equation that makes sense. Change for us as educators sometimes doesn’t make that much sense as we stand in the fray.
I have written about change many times. This isn’t a reflection of change, but I don’t think we can have a reflection without considering how change effects a system and the individuals that populate that system. When things are difficult for the adults or the children, does that make them wrong? Does struggle equal inappropriate? I am trying to reduce struggle or move everyone forward? What does moving forward mean? Reflection, right?
As a people we are not so reflection driven. We are more solutions driven. We have problem A, so let’s try solution B. We notice deficit C, so the solution must be decision F and so on and so on. What if solution isn’t the next step after problem? What if the next step after problem is inquiry? Observation? Discussion? What if in our rush to solve, we have stepped all over our evidence?
So this year, I am going to do what I usually do in May and June with an enhancement. I’m going to go to the data and encourage others to go to the data. I am going to reflection on difficulties and ponder them deeper wondering about their makeup. I am not going to drive headlong into solutions as tempting as that always is.
This year I’m going to take a hard look at my practice, at the systems I promote and the ones I don’t, at the ideas I was so sure of and reflect on that certainty. I hope to listen and contemplate, and reflect. Not always looking backward, but not leaving those experiences in the rearview until I have truly thought about them.
My plan of action:
Collect data of all kinds. Student driven data. Teacher driven data. My own numbers.
Ask myself and others some big questions: How did we grow? Where we didn’t, why didn’t we?
Ask other people for their reflections about our shared work.
Mull it over. Mix it with a few more discussions and readings and distance.
Then begin again.