CHECK that off the list! (HIGH FIVE!)

The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.
— Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

This academic year is quickly coming to a close. It has, no doubt, had its ups and downs and lefts and rights. All of these interesting twists and turns have surely increased your mental flexibility and pushed your and your students’ learning to new levels. The time has come to reflect on the growth that you have all made throughout the year.

When reflecting, the general tendency is to focus on areas that need improvement. While that step is vital for continual growth, it’s equally important to recognize and celebrate our successes. Noticing areas in which we’ve made progress is extraordinarily motivating and gives our souls the boost necessary to take on the next project with a renewed sense of purpose and the energy to achieve it. Both you and your students should take some time to truly celebrate your successes this year and bask in the glory of that growth (no matter how small).

Teacher reflection: At the beginning of the school year, we used a matrix to set goals for all aspects of the profession. (View the example in the August newsletter)

The chart below is similar to the chart we used to set our goals, but there is one difference. This time we are focusing on the progress that we’ve made and the positive impact that growth has had. As often as possible, try to quantify the positive impact of the progress with hard evidence (% fewer absences, % more parent involvement, improved quality of student projects and mastery of topics, etc). This evidence will keep your reflection grounded in data and offer even more validity & credibility to your celebration.

General goal 

Progress made 

Positive Impact of my growth

Student centered (learning outcomes)

 Professional growth


 Collaboration with colleagues

 Environment / Classroom climate and management

General goal
Student reflection: This year students have learned about growth mindsets and attempted to nurture such thoughts in themselves. They have been given opportunities to determine their preferred learning styles and to use that knowledge to get the most out of every lesson. The survey included in this month’s featured free resource will help your students recognize their progress in these areas and give them an opportunity to provide you with valuable feedback about the ways you have supported students throughout the year. There is a reminder to celebrate their successes at the bottom of the first page. Spend a good amount of time on this celebration in order to help students recognize the joy in reflection and growth.

Some ways you can celebrate are:

  • Play a motivating song as each student shares one success and high fives all members of the  classroom.
  • Pair students up to share successes and then invent their own secret high five.
  • Have students share successes for the whole class and recognize their growth with a unanimous clap (or other sign of approval and support).
  • Allow students to create a visual representation of their growth and parade it around the classroom with pride.

Take the time to really relish the highs of your successes. Next week you can all revisit the charts and surveys to set goals for improvement ... but save that for next week.