The end of the academic year always brings with it times of reflection, looking forward to the year ahead and for a teacher or pupil, the summer holidays to get a well-deserved break. The main high and lows, as well as how it ends, are often the things that stand out and you will take forward with you as part of your narrative.
So this begs the questions, ‘how do you want to end the school year?’ and ‘how you want those you teach/care for to remember the end of the school year?’
We have noted 3 deeper questions that you may think about.
1. What has happened that is likely to have made an impact?
Reflections on each half term and the things that have made an impact on you, your class, or even your child, can help you see the year for how it was, rather than just focusing on the low points.
3 factors for constructive reflection of the academic year include:
I. Make the time – Actively take some time out to reflect on how the year went. Be honest with yourself, don’t be shy to pat yourself on the back for the successes or to commiserate the difficult times.
II. Be honest and transparent with yourself – If there are things that have not gone well in the year, that is okay: The year will have been full of challenges. Alternatively, if it’s been a great year, consider why, how you contributed to that, and how that makes you feel.
III. Ask for feedback – You could ask your class, colleagues or friends for feedback on the things they may have seen that went well this year, as well as seeking constructive feedback (i.e., what could you do more of next year?) from trusted others.
2. How could you round off this year well?
Often when a year doesn’t go well or there have been a lot of downs, we tend to forego everything and say we’ll start again the following year. However, if you are intentional about ending on a high, this will bode well for a positive start to the following year.
3 ways to round off the year:
I. Be positive – Without negating any challenges, can you reframe them in terms of what you’ve learned? Why didn’t they get any worse? What qualities have you displayed that helped you through?
II. Be intentional – Instead of just letting the year end in a whirlwind, could you do one or two things to end the year on a high? Even if it is a short conversation with your colleagues, your class, your child about the year as whole?
III. Be optimistic – No matter what happened this academic year, we can look forward to the next year with hope, looking for opportunities for connection and development.
3. What about the future/new beginning?
As mentioned in the question above, think about ending the current year positively, which will help begin the new year with optimism.
2 ways to do this:
I. Plan and prepare – As an educator, you know very well how to plan for the academic year ahead. We’d add one thing to that, which is trying to ensure you start the year intentionally, setting your expectations and actions for a positive year ahead. This may also include knowing that it can often take everyone some time to feel settled at the start of the new year, so empathy and compassion are good examples of intentions to start the year with.
II. Implement and adapt - Things can change in your circumstances and environment. It’s important to know it is okay when things don’t go the way you planned. Continually using the 3 steps for constructive reflection mean even when things don’t go well, you can consistently strive to mitigate and adapt.
Most of all, we want all educators to know that at LWP we recognise all of the hard work you have done in supporting your pupils, and the wider school community this year! This blog has focused on you the educator, but take a look at our Starter for Ten on Endings and Beginnings for further insight on how to support your pupils during this transition phase of the school year.