Reflect on your successes in teaching

Celebrate! Reflection Questions for Identifying Success

Another year has drawn to a close. And now? Before diving headfirst into vacation plans, take a moment. Stop and breathe. Pause…and reflect on the lives of students you impacted this year. What successes quickly come to mind?

The students you taught this year learned. That was because of the intentional work of you and your collaborative team. We don’t typically stop to acknowledge enough how our work positively affected the mathematics knowledge and skills of our students. How much more prepared is each and every student in your grade level or course for next year because of their learning this year?

What are the small and large wins you had this year in the classroom, as well as from the work and products created by your collaborative team?

Think back to the start of the 2016–17 school year and consider how you would have answered each of the questions below:

Students/Classroom Team
  • What did students come to you having already learned?
  • What did you see as challenges to student learning of mathematics when the school year started?
  • How well did students make sense of and persevere through solving higher-level tasks?
  • What did student learning through peer-to-peer discourse look like at the start of the year?
  • How well did your team make sense of standards before every unit?
  • How well did your team create and use common formative assessments?
  • How well did your team make a collective plan for students who had not yet learned the essential learning standards during or after each unit?
  • How well did your team address extensions or enrichments for students who had already learned?

Wow! I hope you are already starting to see your celebrations and areas of growth.

Now think about these reflection questions as if it is the end of the school year, and consider the answers for the students across your grade or course on your team.

Students/Classroom Team
  • What did students learn this year? What was their greatest strength in content understanding?
  • Which challenges to mathematics learning did students overcome?
  • How well do your students now understand and persevere when solving higher-level tasks?
  • How did students end the year knowing how to be engaged in meaningful discourse that provided opportunities to learn from peer-to-peer feedback?
  • How well does your team make sense of standards before every unit?
  • How well does your team create and use common formative assessments?
  • How well does your team make a collective plan for students who had not yet learned the essential learning standards during or after each unit?
  • How well does your team address extensions or enrichments for students who had already learned?

You may have additional celebrations beyond the ones identified with these reflection questions. These are amazing learning opportunities for you and your team, and the challenge is to replicate them next year. These intentional celebrations allow your team to grow from year to year in your ability to address the needs of each and every student, using data from common assessments and higher-level tasks.

Struggling to find a success? It’s there—let yourself acknowledge it. Allow the success be the spark that ignites your passion for teaching those students who enter your classroom again next year. Next year’s students can’t wait to celebrate with you a year from now!

Sarah Schuhl

Sarah Schuhl is a consultant specializing in professional learning communities, mathematics, assessment, school improvement, and RTI. She has been a secondary mathematics teacher, high school instructional coach, and K–12 mathematics specialist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.