Four questions to the Best Teaching Year Ever

Today, I’m asking you to take the time to glean what we can from last year and design what we want to happen in the year to come.  Here’s to closing out 2015 well and bringing in the best year ever!  If I was sitting with you, I would grab a glass of _____ (well you fill in the blank) and toast to doing the best we could in 2015 and making 2016 the best year ever.  –Salud–  

Now take a look at these questions:

  1. What worked this past year?

  2. What didn’t work this past year?

  3. What will I start doing this year?

  4. What will I stop doing this year?

Have you ever taken the time to ask yourself these questions?  Am I asking too many questions.  No seriously. . . grab a journal, find your favorite pen to write with (or if you are like me – multicolored pens – yes I’m obsessed with color coding!), your favorite warm bevie (beverage) and get ready to write.  Personally, I love a strong latte with a bit of nutmeg shavings dusting the top of the foam.  Give yourself at  least 40 minutes.  I can’t imagine that it will take less than 10 minutes to go through each of the questions above.  If you are not accustomed to sitting still, thinking, and reflecting, 40 minutes can feel like a lifetime.  Just try it, you won’t regret it!  Oh, and try as best you can to engage the process in a place and time where you will not be interrupted.  Maybe head to your favorite coffee shop alone.

I love to do this for my personal life and my professional life.  It works for both.  Today though let’s apply them to our pursuit of becoming the best Spanish teacher ever.  It is my belief that you can not give away something that you do not possess.  So that’s why I believe you must start with reflecting on your own about your classroom, your teaching and your growth.  Let’s get started!

What worked this past year?

  • Celebrate – you did some great stuff this past year!
  • Acknowledge what you are proud of, what growth you experienced, and what you were able to accomplish in the last 12 months.
  • Identify the good stuff and remember the praise worthy successes that continue to motivate you to do our best.

What didn’t work this past year?

  • Name what frustrated you or what you couldn’t fix, figure out.
  • Write down the feelings you had around these events.  We can’t move past them if we don’t acknowledge them.
  • Discern what was in your control and what was not in your control.

What will I stop doing this year?

  • Clear out some space in your mind, your environment (we will talk more about that next week), and in your schedule.
  • Ascertain what needs to stop.  What you could control that did not go well last year?  What do you need to stop doing to change the situation?
  • Remember that simplifying is liberating and can bring new freedom, new options and a new year. . . the best year ever!

What will I start doing this year?

  • Look for places that you can build more free space to relax, reflect and refocus.  This is how we invest in ourselves so we have more to invest in our students.
  • Decide to take care of yourself as you consciously and constantly think about taking care of  your students.
  • Plan what it is that you would like to start doing.  Is it personal, professional or both?  Limit it to one or two specific things you want to start to better yourself and your Spanish instruction.

Make this the best teaching year ever for yourself and your students!