At the end of each lesson (usually at the end of each school day in the primary grades), good teaching requires a "closure." It can be a 20-30 second spiel about what the lesson was. It could be a review in the form of a quick write, a "ticket out the door" deal, or even simpler, just having the students tell me when they learned that day.
Throughout the credential program (and from what I can tell, well into BTSA as well) professional and personal reflection has such a high priority. Which I get - but there needs to be a point to it too. Reflection not for reflection's sake, but for change. For making my teaching more effective. For making peace with all the sadly ironic things about teaching. For making peace with my own decisions before, during, and after teaching.
The first step to a thoroughly productive reflection is just to recall what happened. Here's my first step for the past twelve months:
Things I did in 2009
1) Lost 25 pounds. Most of it during the stress of my failed seven weeks of Phase 3, the first time around.
2) Gained back 15 pounds. Most of it during my month long vacation in HK.
3) Was withdrawn from student teaching. Cried in front of everyone and their principal.
4) Survived complete change of teaching philosophy with integrity intact and determination rejuvenated.
5) Took three travel vacations, and one big stay-cation, over a span of five months to get over those seven weeks. Best decision this year.
6) Attended four weddings. Felt that much older.
7) Drove 19,782 miles, including a road trip to WA.
8) Got much better at tennis.
9) Learned that sometimes, giving less than 100% is more effective - and sanity saving - than giving more.
10) Taught the best group of fifth and sixth graders that I will ever see in my entire future career.
11) Passed the RICA, PACT, and finally the credential program at CSUS.
12) Adopted a pet.
13) Planned and initiated goals for blog.
14) Learned to crochet.
15) Moved away from the polo-shirt-and-khakis combo and into more experimental fashion territory.
16) Increased financials. Good investment.
17) Kept up correspondence with far-flung friends. Better investment.
18) Made decisions that made me happy. Best investment.
19) Was astounded by the huge world of blogs.
Now what am I going to do with this reflection? That'll take more reflection. Yeah, of course it does.