True Reflection

This quote alone makes one think…reflect, perhaps…on the meaning. I have always been told that I will learn more by doing than by watching, and I truly believe that. However, I have never been told that I will learn more by reflecting than by doing. What exactly does this mean?

Last week I had a very fortunate opportunity to witness a true reflective moment that completely changed the pulse of a PLC team. A moment that seemed so simplistic yet was so impactful. A moment that will have a long-term effect on the culture and safety of the team. A moment that all began with a personal reflection by the team leader.

To begin this particular PLC meeting, the team leader shared that she had attended a recent training in which the participants were asked to do some reflecting. In the past, when asked to do this, she would write things down because that is what she was supposed to do. She was “doing”. However, at this training, she did more than just “do”. She did a true reflection, and this reflection allowed her to truly understand herself as an educator.

The team leader then proceeded to share an appreciation about each team member, and these appreciations were specific to their role as a team member. Each team member had the opportunity to hear how a particular talent, skill, or knowledge they possess has contributed to the success of the team. Through this small yet powerful gesture, the team leader encouraged her team members to reflect on what they, too, had done.

During the last five minutes of their time together, the team leader pulled out personal journals for each team member and they all independently reflected. They reflected on how well they did with their identified norm for that meeting. They reflected on their contributions to the team. They reflected on the impact their work has had on student learning. They did not just “do”…they reflected on what they had done.

Walking out the classroom door after that meeting left me with a new-found respect for the power and purpose of true reflection. Each and every day I make choices; I implement actions, I speak words, and I provide guidance to others. Each and every day I am doing, but now I make the commitment to start reflecting. Reflecting on what I have done, what went well, and what could have been done differently. It is through this reflecting that I will truly be learning.

As author Sonya Teclai wrote, “Self-reflection is a humbling process. It’s essential to find out why you think, say, and do certain things…then better yourself.”  Today I take the pledge to better myself and learn more about my impact through true reflection. Will you join me?

-Michelle

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