You’re a busy person: you plan activities and prompts; you clean up and organize; you make sure everyone washes their hands after using the toilet, and before eating. You chat with parents, you put bandaids on scrapes. All this, and I still argue that you should find the time to reflect on your teaching practice and the events of each day.
Reflection helps you to articulate what is really happening in your teaching practice. It is an introspective act: you examine the choices that you make, try to dig a little deeper to see where those choices came from. Reflection is the act of getting to know yourself better as an educator, and as a person. "Reflective Practice" sounds much more complex than it needs to be, so today, let’s simplify, and see how you might find the time for reflective thinking and writing in your teaching practice.
Set an Alarm.
Set an alert on your calendar or phone to remind you to stop for some writing.
Perhaps you can reflect for 10 minutes during lunch on Wednesday, or for 15 minutes on Saturday morning. The first step is making a bit of time, and holding yourself accountable for that. There is no wrong way to reflect - it is personal. Anytime, anywhere, any length of time is fine: all you need is yourself and place to gather your thoughts.
Talk to yourself.
Use your smartphone to reflect! You can use a voice memo app, or something that helps you organize more. I use Evernote.
We can have some clarifying moments when we articulate ideas out loud - it does not always need to come through writing. An extra benefit is that you can do your audio reflections while driving home, or while cleaning up at the end of the day. Keep the recordings to listen to again, or make some notes when you are done with the audio reflection to collect your key ideas.
Embed reflection into staff meetings.
A weekly or a monthly staff meeting can be an opportunity to introduce reflection to staff, and make time for their reflective thinking.
Try starting your staff meetings with a 5 minute reflective writing session, either open for teachers to choose their own explorations, or following a question or prompt. This can turn into a group discussion, or just an example of how reflection might fit into what already seems to be a busy schedule.
Learn More with the Bakers and Astronauts Reflective Writing Online Workshop!