Check Yourself

Have you ever walked out of the house without looking in the mirror? I have such a routine in the morning looking in the it mirror probably doesn't make a huge difference wether I check the mirror or not. Even so I look in the mirror every morning before I walk out the door. Sometimes I'll catch some toothpaste I missed or see that the clothes that I thought matched in my half-awake haze don't actually look good together. Either way I don't walk out the door without checking to make sure that I'm proud of how I am presenting myself.

If we check ourselves in the mirror before we leave to make sure we look good, why then do so many of us go about our work without reflecting on our practice? I know that as a professional if I do not reflect on the things that I do I will not see my areas for growth. And wether we like to admit it or not, we all have areas for growth. We all make mistakes, and those mistakes can be very valuable... if we learn from them. 

There are lots of different ways that we can reflect on our practice. Often times we just think back about what has happened. In a lot of ways that is just like me thinking about my morning routine, yes I may have done everything I usually do but that doesn't mean I couldn't have done something better -- like wipe the toothpaste off my face. 

You can reflect on your practice by having someone come in and watch the you teach and give you feedback. This can be very helpful to see another person's perspective, but with that perspective comes another person's bias. If I were to ask my son every morning about how I looked before walking out the door I could bet money that he would say I look the best on days that I wear blue (his favorite color).

A great way to reflect on our practice is to look at student data. I can look at how the way in which I do something effects the outcomes for students. This is an important way to reflect. In a way it's kind of like thinking back to the last time you wore an outfit and everyone complemented it so you continue to wear it.

Recently I've been reading Focus on Teaching by Jim Knight and he suggests that video recording ourselves is the best way for us to truly reflect on our practice, and I couldn't agree more. Being able to see for yourself exactly what happens is an eye opening experience. It's just like looking in the mirror.

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