Journaling can help educators recenter themselves. The following questions are intended to encourage you to keep your practices human-centered and to consider new perspectives. Commit to making space for reflection at least once every quarter of the school year.
Begin by thinking of a challenging situation in your professional life. Choose from the set of questions below and write about it. Be honest in your reflection. Remember this reflection is for you and it is meant to help you grow as a teacher and individual. (You might use the following overarching questions to guide your reflection: What emotions was I feeling? How are my emotions in this situation connected to my values?)
Question Set 1
What is my mission or vision?
How am I aligning my choices with my mission or vision?
Possible use: when planning for a new school year
Question Set 2
What are my values?
How are my values reflected in my decisions?
Possible use: when making a challenging decision about how to handle a situation at school
Question Set 3
What are my biases?
Do I acknowledge the bias I bring to this situation, or am I taking action to remove that bias?
Possible use: when making a decision that might affect students’ access to opportunities
Question Set 4
What do others need from me in this situation?
How might I contribute in a way that is fair, equitable, and just?
Possible use: when trying to decide whether to take on a new responsibility at school
Question Set 5
What emotions am I feeling?
How are my emotions in this situation connected to my values?
Possible use: when you feel stressed/overwhelmed at school
Question Set 6
How am I practicing (and encouraging the practice of) love and care?
What are the consistent opportunities and practices that I set in place that encourage the development of authentic relationships?
Possible use: when preparing for the start of the semester
Question Set 7
How am I being empathetic towards myself and others?
How can I support others in finding their identity and interests through every interaction?
Possible use: when responding to students who are going through a challenging time
Next, review what you wrote and consider the following questions: Has your perspective on the situation shifted? Did your response bring up any additional questions to explore? Based on your reflection, are there any changes you can make in your professional life? If applicable, commit to making one change in your professional life.
One step further: If you feel comfortable, you may even ask colleagues or students for their input to broaden your perspective as you engage in your reflection.
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Principled Innovation, Arizona State University