Reflection – Looking Back to Create a Plan for the Future

The end of the first semester is a perfect time to look at what went right, what we’ve accomplished, and where we need to improve. Looking back at the plans and goals set at the beginning of the school year and gauging where we are and what we need to do to accomplish our goals before the end of the school year. John Dewey, American philosopher, educator, psychologist, and activist said it best “We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflection on experience”. Taking the time to think critically about lessons, interactions, and goals can greatly impact your campus. While it’s very important to look at campus goals, it’s also very important to look at personal goals. Student reflections are also an integral part of planning for the next semester. The following are some questions administrators, teachers, and students can ask.

Administrators

  • What was the highlight of the semester?
  • What was the most challenging thing about this semester?
  • Are we creating a positive campus climate and culture?
  • What are some of our successes this semester? Remember this isn’t just about test score
  • Am I supporting the faculty and staff?
  • What goals have we met?
  • What goals did we not meet? Why? 
  • What can I do to improve?
  • How is my work/life balance?
  • What professional goals did I meet? 
  • What do I want to do better next semester?

Teachers

  • What was the highlight of the semester?
  • What was the most challenging thing about this semester?
  • Am I creating an environment where students thrive and feel safe?
  • Am I reaching all students or do I need to work harder to individualize instruction for those who need additional support?
  • What lessons were my favorite? 
  • What lessons “bombed”?
  • How is my work/life balance?
  • What am I doing well?
  • What areas do I need to improve professionally?
  • Am I a team player or could I do better?

Students

Reflection is a skill that students should be familiar with as they answer questions during lessons, both orally and in written form. 

For younger students, you can ask them questions and make notes of their thoughts. For older students, you may give them the questions and they can write their answers. Questions will vary depending on the age group but might include the following.

  • What do you think you do well?
  • What do you want to do better?
  • What lesson was your favorite?
  • What do you want to learn more about?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • Did you meet your goals for this semester? 

This is a very busy time of year for sure, but hopefully, you find the time to answer some of these questions and others so that you’re set up for success next semester.


Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.

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