As June arrives, my Facebook feed has been full of end-of-year reflections from my teacher friends.
My friend Jill, a high school English teacher, recently posted, "One of my students commented this morning, 'You know, I did actually get better at writing in your class.' Another said, 'Yeah, I actually did like your class.' All of this is to say, they didn't think they would, but they did. Ha ha! I feel like a magician."
Days later my friend Leticia, a 3rd grade teacher, shared, "Proud teacher moment: All of my students that started writing three sentence stories are now writing three paragraph NF reports and writing persuasive letters- so persuasive we received a handwritten letter from David Shannon. It feels good to be a teacher!"
Thinking about Jill as a learn-to-love-school magician and picturing Leticia's class opening their letter from David Shannon puts a big smile on my face. We often ask our students to celebrate their successes, as Paige Price does when she has her students share their "shining moments" at the end of class. But what if teachers made it a regular part of their routine to celebrate their shining moments?
As a teacher, I found it easy to focus on the positive with my students, but difficult to do so with myself. My students had limitless assets, but my teaching could always be improved. Teaching and learning are exercises in improvement— we could learn and learn forever, yet still there would be more to learn.
As I wrote in January, identifying your areas of growth is key to improving your teaching practice. But along with the constant improvement, there are so many things that we are doing well. Just as with our students, we need to remember to celebrate our own successes. And what better time to celebrate than at the end of the school year?
By identifying your shining moments, you can take a step back and reflect on the work you've done this year. Of course, in reflecting you might identify a few Be-Sure-To's for next year, but try to identify just as many proud moments. Reflecting on a complete school year can be a great chance to take a broader view of your work, as Robert Townsend does when he shares about graduation day.
So, without further ado, what was your shining moment this year?
Lily Jones taught K/1 for seven years in Northern California. She has experience as a curriculum developer, instructional coach, teacher trainer, and is also a contributing writer for Teaching Channel.