As a teacher, morning reflection powerfully directs your day. You don’t need to get up earlier or change your routine. Instead, just shift your way of thinking.
Morning Reflection – Always Positive
When you pour that first cup of coffee, ponder your day. Remain positive – always. Tell yourself: “Today will be the best day ever.”
Overcome negative thoughts. Yes, you can make lemonade out of lemons. Let’s look at some examples:
You have to make a difficult parent phone call.
First, think about how you will phrase the problem in a non-confrontational way. Second, consider a plan to convey to the parent. Third, rehearse ways you will redirect the parent if he/she becomes angry or gets off topic. Finally, talk to yourself in positive, self-affirming ways. Say, “Today I will make a difficult phone call, and I will prevail!”
You’re dreading a meeting.
To handle this, make sure you’re on top of things. Again, make a plan. What can you say and do to turn an awkward situation into something that makes you proud? You could break the ice by bringing a treat. But it’s more important to bring something to show your competence. If it’s a staff meeting, consider copying something seasonal that everyone can use in their classrooms. For a parent meeting, think about student work samples, data, and a list of ways you will help their child. When you’re a contributing group member, the meeting takes a positive turn.
A student is out of control.
If a certain student (or two) consistently ruin your day, it’s time to make some changes. Today. Let’s run through a few ideas to think about.
- Review classroom rules and how you will enforce them. Then do it.
- Change the seating chart.
- Try counting to three. Tell the student that you will raise one finger at his or her first inappropriate behavior, two for the second, and three for the third. At that time, he or she will move to a one-minute secluded timeout. With this method, you’re no longer nagging or yelling. It’s quick and easy.
- Call home.
- Make a contract.
- Get help from a counselor or administrator.
Coach yourself to remain calm, positive, and consistent. Even for difficult children, you are the adult. You are the boss.
Morning Reflection – Always Proactive
As you wash your face and brush your teeth, look in the mirror. It’s time for more reflection. Think now about teaching and learning. What’s better than being on your game? Being ahead of the game, of course!
How can I improve on yesterday’s lessons?
When asking this question, think about students and their learning. Always focus on them. If you did your best, but students were not engaged and learning, you need to change.
Talk to yourself, saying, “Next time I do a lesson like this, I will ________________.”
How will I present today’s lessons?
Run through your day. At this time, decide on the order of activities. If needed, switch things to make them work with your schedule. Then think about ways you can enhance each lesson. Consider the needs of the whole group, individual students, and yourself. After all, if the teacher’s not happy, nobody’s happy.
If you have time for nothing else, do this step. A quick morning rehearsal in your head always makes the day run more smoothly.
How can I maximize learning?
Consider ways your lessons can do double duty. Maybe you can reinforce math skills during your science lesson. Or perhaps you can teach informational text skills during social studies.
Who is struggling?
Consider every angle. Sometimes teachers focus only on low achieving students. Yes, they struggle every day. But now ponder other students. Maybe a child needs social guidance. And what about those few high ability students in your class? Do they need alternative activities so they can learn something new today?
How can I help?
Choose one or two students each day. Then make plans to change their day in a positive way. You cannot be all things to all students every day. Focus broadly with your lesson planning and narrowly when targeting someone to help.
The Positive Effects
If you’ve taken the time to reflect, you’re already feeling better. You feel prepared and in charge.
Reflection takes little time, but it yields big results. With it, you can actually enjoy teaching.
When you think about your own thinking, you develop metacognition. Furthermore, when you practice staying positive and proactive, everything improves. Your attitude, your teaching, and your life get better and better.
Morning reflection keeps you centered, grounded. You enter the classroom ready to teach – and reach – each student. You’re refreshed, positive, and proactive. It’s time to take on the world.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.