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Self Check-In Journal

Use a values-informed reflective process to make ethical decisions with open-mindedness, integrity, equity, and justice in order to respond in a meaningful and responsible manner.

Level: Adult
Duration: ≤ 15 minutes
My Notes: Add/Edit Notes

Planning For It

When You Might Use This Practice

  • Before starting each quarter of the school year
  • To help you identify areas of personal growth
  • When trying to make decisions about changes to your curriculum or how to respond to a situation at work
  • Any time


Time Required

  • 15 minutes



  • Journal
  • Pencil/Pen


Learning Objectives

You will:

  • Reflect on a challenging situation in your professional life
  • Identify changes that you can make
  • Consider others’ perspectives


Additional Supports


Character Strengths

  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Fairness


SEL Competencies

  • Self-Awareness
  • Social Awareness
  • Responsible Decision-Making


Mindfulness Components

  • Open Awareness
  • Non-Judgment

How To Do It

Reflection Before the Practice

  • Set aside 15 minutes of uninterrupted time in a quiet space to complete this reflection.
  • Take a few deep breaths to center yourself.
  • Be kind and gentle to yourself as you note your responses. This tool is meant to increase your understanding of yourself or a situation.


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

Reflection After the Practice

  • What sort of emotions did you experience during your reflection? How might you cope with any challenging emotions that arise during your reflection?
  • Have you noticed any positive effects from the changes you have made based on your reflections?

The Research Behind It

Evidence That It Works

Research suggests that deliberate reflection can strengthen moral character in people, particularly increasing their practice of humility. Deliberate reflection also encourages the practice of self-correction and acknowledgement of biases that may influence behavior. Thus, deliberate reflection lays a foundation for people to engage in more honest and fair behavior.

Why Does It Matter?

Ethical decision-making is a daily practice for educators as they grapple with issues presented by students, colleagues, school leaders, parents, school policies, politics, racism, community and societal tragedies—the list goes on. In order to make effective decisions that deliver ethical and equitable learning opportunities for all learners, teachers need time to reflect on how they view and experience the situation in accordance with their own values.

Reflecting on the sets of questions in this practice engages character as part of the decision-making process, helping educators design solutions for the dilemmas and challenges they face. In addition, intentional reflection helps to cultivate practical wisdom, the skill that helps us to know and do good in the right way—a useful tool in the fast-paced environment of a school.

“A highly developed values system is like a compass. It serves as a guide to point you in the right direction when you are lost.”
–Idowu Koyenikan
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