Another important source of information, of course, is yourself. Reflecting on your own teaching—shortcomings as well as successes—is a way to make sense of your own experiences and to gain perspective on the day-to-day workings of your own classroom. Writing down your thoughts and observations can also give you an outlet for the frustrations, disappointment, and conflict you will undoubtedly run into in the classroom. Reflection exercises can help you think through problems, find solutions, and come to closure on issues that affect your teaching.
The simplest and easiest way to keep track of your thoughts is through keeping a journal. Try writing about only one class every week, or writing only when there is a problem that needs extra attention.
No one else will be reading your journal, so write honestly. You may choose to write about your classroom environment, a new teaching technique, or strategies for reaching different learners. Look over the list of topics in the table of contents for this course if you are stuck for ideas to write on. Later, you will be able to look back and track your own progress as a teacher.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- What aspect of your teaching are you most satisfied with? Why?
- What aspect of your teaching are you most dissatisfied with? Why? What can you do to change it?
- What is the most surprising or unexpected thing that has happened in your classroom?
- What has been most difficult?