Skip to main content

Purposeful Reflection=a Growth Mindset

     The past few weeks have been fast paced and full of family, food, fun, and finally relaxation!  There is nothing like the day after Christmas.  At our house we spend it with a full day in pajamas, rousing games of Clue, eating leftovers, and watching one marathon show after another.  I inevitably end up snuggled up on my couch with a cozy blanket and my laptop, ready to empower myself in the education world one PLN at a time.  The new year is fast approaching and a goal or resolution must be picked!  The pressure is on, but first...I must reflect!

     Yes, it's here!  The daunting task of looking back over our year.  We must all sit back and reflect over our accomplishments and failures.  We will sum up the total of our year as either successful or disappointing.  We will make plans to do better in the year to come and set goals to help us attain "the better" we are searching for.  Reflection is a powerful tool in anyone's belt and must be used if we are truly going to do things differently.  Einstein defined insanity as the process of doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.  Each year we set goals for ourselves and our students, but what are we doing differently to help them achieve their goals?  If we keep presenting them with the same plan and giving them and ourselves the same tools are we not living in the very definition of insanity.  Absolutely!  So the task before us is not what will our goal be, but instead what will we do differently so that we might achieve the goals we want.  It's really setting a ourselves a new perspective not necessarily a new goal.

     For teachers the final push is about to begin.  The second semester is beginning so the stress to get students "where they need to be" begins to come down on our shoulders like a ton of bricks.  The hard conversations will be had during this semester and the tough decisions will be made.  It is really the hardest time of year for teachers, students, and families.  Reflection during this time is crucial for the success of all!  It is important that we all have a growth mindset where the focus is not how smart we all are, but changes to a focus on hard work, collaboration, learning from our mistakes, and being open to the outreach for answers.  Most importantly we must all be of the mindset, and truly believe, that all students can learn and be successful and then show that in our actions, words, and intentions.  When we stop putting the focus on how smart we are and instead put the focus on how hard we worked and how much we learned from the mistake we made, then we will truly see the cycle of insanity broken.

     Think about your students, your faculty, your school community.  What did you do last year to improve it?  What is your plan this year?  Is it the same?  Don't get stuck in the insanity cycle!  Stop and reflect over the things you did last year to try and reach your goals.  Make a new, different, plan that will help you see a new perspective on how to attain "the better"  you want for this year.

     True reflection means we have to be okay with admitting that we make mistakes.  This is not an easy task for most and can be especially hard for teachers.  We put A LOT of time and effort into our lessons and plans for our students, so having to stand back and say that all that hard work flopped right in front of our faces is not just hard to admit, it's nearly impossible!  We pride ourselves on being right, being prepared, and being educated on how to respond to every situation.  There are websites dedicated to our brilliance and innovative creations! (aka Pinterest, TPT, etc...)  So you can imagine how hard it is for us to say that the fabulous math game we spent hours creating still did not reach the struggling math student we thought it would.  WE PRIDE OURSELVES.... the very concept of this is just that... PRIDE.  Reflection does not allow room for PRIDE!  To have a growth mindset we must first learn to be able to admit we fail, we make mistakes, horror of horrors... we, in fact, DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING!

We cannot begin to expect our students to be okay with making a mistake if we ourselves do not model it for them.  Mistakes=learning.

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” 

The task is before you... purposefully reflect, change, and watch yourself, your students, and all those around you grow because of it.



  1. Very powerful, and so true. Thanks for helping me find new and exciting ways to inspire me to try!

    1. Thanks Brenda! You inspire me as well. We make a pretty good team!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Power of Yet... much power in one word.  It brings to mind the notion that something is not action yet to be completed.

      A good friend of mine...a mentor, who happens to also be my principal,  Bethany Hill, recently posed the question on Twitter... "What if we viewed  barriers and obstacles as opportunities?"  My mind immediately went to the  amazing obstacle course that our PE teacher currently had set up in our  gymnasium.  I was visualizing my little first graders' eyes as they walked into the  gym and saw this colorful array of obstacles.  Their eyes lit up with excitement,  some of them literally jumped up and down with pure glee at the challenge  before them.
      Next, I thought of how they intentionally took the challenge and began to  problem solve how they were going to maneuver through the course.  They  didn't know how they were going to do it yet...but they were determined to  figure it out.  Not one child said, "I can't do this.  I…

The Struggle is Real!

There is a moment that every teacher reaches when working with struggling learners.  It's that moment when you stop and say, "What else can I do?  I've done everything I know to do and yet nothing seems to be helping."  As a teacher, it is one of the most helpless feelings.  Watching a student struggle and become frustrated or even want to give up is a horrible experience, but it is the reality of what happens when a student continuously "doesn't get it."  They eventually do not want to try anymore.

I found myself in this place, once again, with some very sweet, precious, and most importantly hard working students.  They were working their little brains to the point of exhaustion every day trying to read.  Again and again we would go over our letters and sounds, reading strategies, and sight words.  Again and again they would struggle to identify the sight words we had just discussed.  We were building our spelling words and breaking them apart every da…

Do You Know Me?

We are by nature compiled of little mannerisms, habits, obsessions, and characteristics. They make us who we are. They are formed by our experiences, sensories, emotions, and thoughts. These little nuances determine our behaviors, our focus, our likes and dislikes, and the challenges that we will carry and have to overcome. They are tiny parts of us but knowing these pieces are HUGE in helping the people around us communicate with us. 

I have an enormous sensory issue. I hate touching paper, wearing jeans, and loud noises. Certain textures of clothing and food make me cringe and want to run away screaming! Some of these sensory issues could easily control me...if I gave them permission to do so. As a child they totally did. I would wear dirty clothes straight out of the hamper rather than wear something I knew would make me uncomfortable. I couldn't turn the pages in my book because of the feeling I got when the paper rubbed together. I had issues with writing because of obsession…