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Reflecting on your 2015 Teaching Year


Hi everyone

As the end of the year draws closer I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a restful holiday break. The focus of my update today is on being a reflective teacher. I will be sharing some “Gems from around the world “for your holiday reading later in the week.  

Reflection on your 2015 Teaching Year

In his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the Brazilian educator Paolo Freire reinforces the idea that reflection is an essential part of learning and of becoming an agent of change in the world:

Within the word we find two dimensions, reflection and action, in such radical interaction that if one is sacrificed -- even in part -- the other immediately suffers . . .

Elena Aguilar in Transformation Begins With Reflection: How Was Your Year?,  shares about the importance of how we tell our stories.

 “So how are you telling the story of this school year? We design our lives, in part, by the stories we tell. ….One of the only things in life that I have control over is how I tell my story -- how I interpret my experiences and make sense of them. If I create a story that is one of learning, growth, and empowerment, I feel better.”

We are all asked to be reflective teachers and this is an important part of the Teacher inquiry and knowledge-building cycle to promote valued student outcomes whilst also using data to support how inquiries.

I have developed some questions to help you reflect on the year that has been for you as a teacher. I would like you to create your story and to plan what lies ahead for you as a teacher in 2016.

The Big Picture (school year as a whole)

What is my overall view on the school year?

What was my biggest success? What was my biggest failure?

What short and long term goals did I want to accomplish this year? How did I achieve or not achieve those goals?

What were some obstacles that I encountered this year? How did I work through any obstacles?

What is something I would change about this year if I could?

Planning/Instruction/Teaching style 

Are there any students that I am under-serving or having difficulty teaching?

How can I make my classroom better serve all my students?

Which resources and strategies do I tend to favour, and which do I tend to ignore?

How can I better support my English language learners? What teaching style best supports their language learning needs?

What changes in my teaching styles are needed to support equity, justice, and respect to all learners in my class?

How can I better support my Pasifika and Maori students learning?

Is my planning and teaching style culturally inclusive? 

What would my students say about me if asked them?


How are my relationships with my school leaders, fellow teachers, support staff, students and parents?

What could I do to improve these?

In what ways could I experience growth in my relationships?

In what ways did I change the lives of my students this year? 

How do I respond when I'm challenged, both inwardly and outwardly?

Professional Development 

How did I grow professionally this year?

What would I like to improve on as a teacher in 2016?  

What do I puzzle over?

Have I followed the Teaching as Inquiry model this year? What did I learn from this process and how did my teaching change as a result? What impact did it have on my students? What do I need to do next?

What do I need to commit to learn in order to stay relevant?

What additional actions could I take to meet my personal mission?

Are there any new technologies that I could adopt next year in order to make teaching easier and more enjoyable /or to better engage my students?

What happens if I don’t change anything at all?


It would be a great way to end the year to share what you have found to be successful this year? Did you try something new? Was it a success? Then please tell others about it. Just send your email to - primaryesol@lists.tki.org.nz . Or respond on the VLN 

Or do you want to change something but you are not sure how to go about it or what would be best? If so, then please share your puzzles and struggles for others to suggest what works for them and how they go about it. This is what makes us a community when we share.