Reflection is powerful, and there may not be a greater gift one can give themselves than the gift of time to actually be spent in reflection.
If I am hitting on all cylinders, I carve out some time at the end of each day to look back and see if I have accomplished everything I set out to do. I review any notes I may have taken, and I make sure I didn’t miss any big-ticket items that I might need to schedule time for in the future. I also try to look back daily to see if there is a lesson to be learned or an emerging pattern I might need to explore further.
I do my best to practice the same habit at the end of each week. I want to make sure my goals for the week were met, and I want to see if there is a communication I need to review, a thank you note that needs to be written, or a concern that needs to be followed up on.
I also look for any lessons to be learned at the end of each week. I reflect on those daily lessons to see if they add up to something greater. Am I noticing the same things happening over and over? How do I need to respond? Is there a celebration that needs to take place? Is there a change that needs to occur? What is my plan for either? Scheduling time for daily and weekly reflection is a practice that can take your leadership to new heights as you systematically “take care” of things you might have otherwise missed.
While daily and weekly times for reflection are invaluable, my favorite reflection time happens twice a year. As educators, we are given the gift of two “new years” and two opportunities in which we should look back and reflect on our time – once in May or June at the end of school and once in December at the end of the semester. Twice a year I take some time to review the last half-year and come up with a top 10 list of things I have learned.
10 Lessons I Learned Through Reflection in 2022
I have learned relationships are always the main thing.
I have learned laughter is the best glue.
I have learned trust is built over time.
I have learned change is just part of the deal.
I have learned the journey of self-actualization never ends, but it gets better with age.
I have learned the best leaders aren’t afraid to tell you the truth.
I have learned people are watching how you react in difficult situations.
I have learned the importance of surrounding myself with positive people.
I have learned what seems like a small gift can mean the world to someone.
I have learned rewards aren’t always immediate.
Reflection is a gift, and making the time for reflection has proven to be the gift that allows me to not only get more done but to make sure I have not missed anything. My favorite part of reflection is seeing the patterns that emerge and the lessons to be learned. Isn’t that what we should be all about as educators? Learning and growing?
Take some time to build reflection into your daily, weekly, or yearly plan. I recommend you start with the yearly reflection and work backward, adding in some reflection time weekly and then daily as you can.
As we head into the new year, take some time to reflect and let us know what lesson you learned this year. You can reach out to us here. We’d love to hear from you!
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