Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
It’s 4:30 p.m. on a Thursday in the dead of winter. I should go home and be with my family. Instead, I am still in the building. Thinking. I keep checking my email to avoid the inevitable disappointment from reflecting on a day that didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked. The work seemed unfocused and lacked direction. On my way home, I am still thinking about it and reflecting on how to make it better. My thoughts are in overdrive at this point. At home my distraction continues.
This pattern is not uncommon for educators. We reflect on our days, we ponder deficits, we acknowledge the wins, we consider relationships, and we constantly ask ourselves questions about teaching, learning, and our students. This isn’t always a good thing.
I felt it was time to rein my reflections in and get control of my thoughts so that I could continue growing in a positive direction. I came across some inspiration on Voxer. A few leaders were discussing “leadership scorecards.” The idea is that you can use several points to measure and reflect on your influence. This got me thinking about how this could apply to my role as a coach and how creating a scorecard might help me reflect and grow as an educator and coach.
The scorecard below highlights what is important to me; your creation may be different.
It needed to be a checklist of questions that reflected my core values in all phases of my life and work.
Did I add value to others today?
What lessons have I learned? How will I apply this new learning?
What am I doing to get better? What’s on my growth plan?
Did I save enough energy for my family?
All stakeholders in a school ask the same question: “Is what we’re doing best for kids?” This question is the driving force for everything we do in our schools. Allow the questions on your scorecard to be the driving force for your reflections. Don’t sweat the small stuff; focus on the most important areas of your work, and carve out time to reflect and grow.
At times I find myself reflecting on my day while driving home or thinking about my upcoming engagements early in the morning. The checklist centers me, and it helps me consider the most important elements of life and work. Perhaps you’ll develop a similar checklist and maybe even use it to write or plan professional development.
However you decide to use a reflection checklist, be sure it includes the most crucial elements from life and work. Then, in the quiet moments when you find yourself reflecting, use the checklist as a guide to focus your thinking.