Building stronger families and stronger communities: Reflecting on Beginnings and Endings

As 2018 comes to an end, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the past and to prepare for the future. You began the school year in August or September with new ideas, plans, and hopes. You will end the year in May or June exhausted from the challenges that you faced. So take a deep breath here, at the unofficial midpoint of the school year, and reflect on your habits. What is working in your professional practice? What might you change?

For inspiration, consider the habits of past Toyota Family Teachers of the Year. We have explored the wisdom of these experienced educators in the Stronger Families, Stronger Communities blog series throughout 2018. They have identified practices which impacted their effectiveness. Interestingly, many of these habits were related to the beginning and ending of each school day. So as you consider your own practice, which of these might work for you?

At the beginning of every day,

  • I am available for my students and families before school.
  • I make a one-on-one connection with every student, every day.
  • I take a full cup of empathy with me when I go to work each day.
  • I begin every day with a grateful heart.
  • I say a prayer.
  • I arrive at school early.
  • I am prepared.
  • I am informed.
  • I am a creature of habit. A daily routine helps me prepare for learning.
  • I check my first impression of parents at the door.

At the end of every day,

  • I am available for students and families after school.
  • I reflect daily.
  • I talk with my colleagues. We discuss the day- how it went, what we would do differently, and what needs to happen tomorrow.
  • I engage in daily self-evaluation.
  • I write in my journal while students write in their journals.
  • I input data daily.
  • I make adjustments based on my reflections and data.
  • I ask: What have I learned? What am I grateful for? What did I do today for someone else?

From teacher to teacher, begin the day prepared and end the day in reflection. Students deserve your best every day.

What practices do you want to change or try in the New Year? Share your thinking in the comments below. One lucky responder will be selected to receive a copy of NCFL’s publication, Stronger Families, Stronger Communities.