We have all had that time when we planned a lesson and thought to ourselves it would be a fantastic class, with students working around, discussing and very excited about the subject. However, it turns out that it does not quite work out as we had imagined and sometimes we may feel frustrated about it. Avoiding frustration is one of the main reasons why we should keep a classroom record: to see what has worked; what did not work and what to do next.
Remember that feeling when you leave the classroom knowing that you gave your best and met students’ expectations? That is when you know that you have done a good job. You recognize that in that particular lesson, you were able to achieve high levels of student engagement and meaningful learning outcomes. What did you do to make it happen? What approach did you use? How was the activity? Make sure to write down everything that worked that day, as well as the students’ reaction to them in your record. This way, you can quickly check what has been more successful in your class for the upcoming lessons.
On the other hand, there is always a time when it seems like everything you planned is not going to work as expected, this is due to either because you could not match students’ level to the task, or just because they are not in the mood for what you planned for that lesson. In this case, the best option is to change your plans. Try to evaluate how was the students’ interest and find what the divergence point between the lesson prepared and its results was. Then, again, to avoid committing the same mistakes, keep a record of how was the experience: write down what went wrong, why (in your opinion), and what has to improve the next.
Once we get the habit of writing reflection notes after each class, our teaching practice will enhance in light of our experience. It means we are not going to be stuck in the same routine over and over, committing the same mistakes we did in the past. By looking back to what we have done and reflecting on our practice, we can always be improving, and step-by-step, our teaching experiences become better. As a consequence, it becomes easier for us to detect what to do next, and which points we should take into consideration when planning classes.
It is common sense that in our profession it is essential to be a very self-conscious person. Teachers are supposed to have this sensibility regarding perceive students’ difficulties and to overcome their weaknesses in teaching. Therefore, writing reflection notes after each class seems to be a plausible alternative for this, as it will help you recall what is working, what is not and what is next. So teach up, write down and move forward!
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