Finding Inspiration to Self Reflect
If you want to be the best at your craft, you have to listen to the opinions of others, and be willing to change – especially if you’re a teacher. Teachers need to know their methods are yielding their intentions. No one willingly asks for criticism unless there is some evidence the experience is worth the effort (and possible discomfort). We need to be inspired to self reflect.
During 2014 my coworker and I set out to write the story of our school’s history. It was a necessary task, part of our five year SACS Accreditation process. The history was already well documented by the timeline of articles and accomplishments of nearly 15 years, but we needed to capture the essence of our culture while writing the Executive Summary of our submission.
The assignment came on the heals of a survey by our stakeholders whose job it was to identify our strengths and weaknesses. We learned what a great job we do in preparing kids for life but that our overall communication with parents needed some attention. Parents wanted to know that we all practiced what the school said it stood for, that the message was consistent and clear throughout, and they didn’t want to have to guess how to find pertinent information from year to year. The problem was easily solved by changing how we used technology to communicate.
The reflection gave reason to research not only how we should communicate, but also why. We reviewed which communication was important enough to land on paper versus electronic forms and evaluated whether some should be eliminated all together. Our school is well on the way to implementing the changes that will bring us closer to succeeding in the eyes of our stakeholders. The entire process of asking how we could improve was at first, uncomfortable, but began the necessary shift toward becoming the best school we could be.
I was inspired by the incredible transformation that has occurred since our school’s self-reflection. Teachers are trying new processes and our use of technology has greatly increased at all grade levels. The process makes me think about my own ‘same old ways’. Imagine the change that might occur if we each asked our personal stakeholders to point out our weaknesses and strengths. What would we learn about ourselves? How would we react?
This eportfolio begins that discussion. Each post opens the door to hearing from my stakeholders. It’s also the avenue to voice my own opinion about change within and outside of myself. Eventually my focus will be less on the design of the site and more on the message I convey about how education is changing – beginning with my own.