The end of the school year can be filled with a flurry of activities leaving you a little dazed and feeling a little let down as you send your class on to the next teacher. But this is no time to waste energy on things you can’t change. Now is a great time to sit back and reflect on your successes and failures and set goals for next year’s class. Follow these tips for assessing the year and using that information to build on your next year’s goals.
Evaluate the Year
It’s easy to focus on the things that went wrong, especially if you had a tough year; but now is the time to take stock of both positive and negative experiences. That means identifying lessons and units that went especially well, as well as taking a look at those that didn’t go as planned.
Begin by making a list of your biggest successes and taking note of what made them work so well. Think about student reactions, interactions and lessons learned and try to pinpoint components of the unit that contributed to its success. Perhaps you included a parent/student component or allowed students the freedom to make choices about what they would study and learn. Maybe you took advantage of the skills of more advanced students to motivate reluctant learners. Note anything you can think of that made the unit or lesson a success.
Even well-planned lessons and units can fall flat at times, but don’t waste time feeling bad. Try to identify what went wrong so you can improve or change it next year. Perhaps your timing was off and children lost interest because of other activities, like that impending spring break, around them. Sometimes, lessons or units fail because they don’t match up with the interest and skill level of the class. If you suspect this was the case, note that as well.
Plan for the Future
Now that you have a record of your successes and failures and have identified the reasons for both, you are ready to put that new knowledge to work.
Revise Lessons and Units
Use the information you gained about what made some units and lessons successful to revise your less successful plans. For example, if a parent/ student component contributed to the success of prior lessons, brainstorm for ways to add parental involvement in your new plans. Likewise, if using the skills of advanced students helped make other lessons successful, make a note to seek out students with special skills to enhance your new lesson plans. If the timing of the lesson was off, consider teaching the unit when there are less distractions.
Using your successes to enhance or revise less successful lesson plans improves your effectiveness as a teacher and enhances student involvement and learning.