They say that the path to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t know anything about that, but it is getting warm in here.
I intended as one of my goals this year to be more reflective in what I am doing. Part of that reflection would be the upkeep of my blog. Well as I look back on the year so far, it seems that this was one of the places I have been neglecting. It is not because I think it a chore, or because I don’t like writing (because if you have seen some of my posts, I can go for miles), but because it has been at the bottom of the list. A long list of new job duties and projects and exciting happenings in the classroom and trainings have made it hard to get some time to sit and reflect, let alone write. But as I sit in a meeting, waiting for my turn to present, I can create some room in my thought and schedule to reflect.
I reflect that I need more time to reflect, and if I really want to refine and perfect my craft, this needs to be a part of the normal routine. So my reflection today will be on ow to make sure you are reflecting.
The easiest thing to do, and what I recommend to you, would be to schedule some time with yourself. Bea realistic. I schedule in 45 minutes, but your needs may be less, may be more. As I become more proficient at it, I may lessen the time. I use a popular online calendar to keep track of my hectic and busy schedule, even more so that I am out of the classroom and going here and there and helping out all over the district. My calendar is a multicolored explosion of appointments. But since I am dedicated to getting better at my craft, I need to make that a priority, and place that on my calendar first. Block out that time, maybe not daily, but at least weekly. Have that time be sacred. Make yourself not just busy, but unavailable. If I don’t treat that time as sacred, and refuse to schedule other things during that time, then I will never get things done.
Now that I have blocked off my time, what should I reflect about? And for that matter, how am I going to do my reflecting? I know why I should reflect: perspective, tracking goals, awareness of time management, self-exploration and discovery, development and growth, promote the life/work balance, celebrate success and learn from failures. But that is a long list, and trying to address all those things at one time ensure that I will not do any of that well. I find that having a focus on my reflection always make the time seem more relevant and useful. It’s not a time to just sit and think, and because this is a new thing for me I think some structure would be best, at least for a while until I get more proficient and purposeful with reflecting on my own. As to how I am reflecting, good old pen and paper works well for now.
Because this is for work, I should probably focus on my professional goals. I have to write them every year, and they are taken into account during my evaluation, but to be honest there really wasn’t any focused intent on using them as guide for anything before now. To wit- I just opened the document with my goals for the year and I almost laughed. I realize I didn’t spent much time on them because they were never really used for anything more than looking good on my evals. My boss wasn’t looking at them and didn’t seem to think they mattered, so that had become my stance well. This is a sobering realization.
My first reflection should be a serious look at my professional goals for the year, and not the flowery language I hastily typed; goals that mattered, were specific, measurable and attainable. Goals relevant to my current position and timely in their application. Yes, I need SMART goals, they seem to fit well, and proves I was listening at the 4 in-services we had about them :). I need to rewrite the goals to better align them to my current responsibilities and the direction I want to go. I have to think about the steps I need to take to get there. How will I make this list, these goals and my vision for myself, a reality? BINGO. There was my first second reflection topic. It isn’t narrowly focused, but it leaves me room to be broad in my reflection, and to plan out later, more specific details on each of my more specific SMART goas. Deductive reflection sessions, that seems to be the ticket.
I hope my stream of consciousness ramble on reflections can help you when it comes to your reflecting and goal setting, but then again, I reflect for me more than for you, constant reader, and I certainly think I am getting on the right track. Good luck and get those reflections started!