Reflecting on the school year

You made it! Summer is officially around the corner. Now that the school year is winding down, Along is here to help you and your students look back…and forward. Thinking about the growth and development that took place this year is an important reflection practice. It helps bring closure to the experiences of the year, and sets students up for success and future growth in the next grade. So, let’s take this opportunity to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what tomorrow has in store.

Reflecting for students

Back in January, we talked about helping students set goals for the rest of the school year. Now that the school year is coming to a close, looking back on the second semester is a valuable practice (even if you didn’t do any formal goal setting when it started).

Start the reflection process by checking out this Along educator resource: Celebrate Students’ Growth and Development. This resource can help guide you through praising your students’ accomplishments and celebrating their growth. You can also create your own reflection question in Along. Ask students to consider the goals they set and their progress reaching them, or ask them about how they’ve grown this school year. This will open a line of communication about what students believe they did well — and what accomplishments they’re most excited about. 

Teacher tip: Be sure to remind students that reaching goals or obtaining achievements is rarely a straight line. You can make a lot of progress and then have a setback. The important thing is the progress that is made in the first place! By providing support and encouragement, students can start the summer with their goals-in-progress still in mind.

If there are certain students who have reached their goals, provide encouragement for goal-setting over the summer. Remind them that goals aren’t limited to the classroom. Here are two reflection questions in Along to get students thinking about the future.

  • What is something you would like to get better at doing at or outside of school?  Why would you like to get better at it? 
  • What kind of life would you like to have in the future?

By revisiting goals and reflecting on the developments made this year, you’re helping students recognize their accomplishments and to continue to see the bigger picture. You’re being both their cheerleader and their coach and strengthening the connections you’ve built throughout the year.

Reflecting for educators

We know this year has been a roller coaster — and we can’t say enough about how much we admire your hard work, persistence, and dedication to connecting with students. Amid the ups and downs, it’s probably been difficult to catch a break and just reflect on the progress you’ve made. As summer begins, make space for reflection while the school year is still fresh in your mind.  

Think about the following questions: What goals did you have at the beginning of the school year? What do those goals look like now? Did your skills grow as an educator? What accomplishments are you proud of? To get to the heart of these answers, step outside of your normal routine and do something that gives you space to think: write down your thoughts in a journal, share a coffee with a colleague, or go for a Mindful Walk. Approach the exercise with honesty and discover all the ways you succeeded and the pathways for continued progress. 

This is also a good time to take a look at what worked for you with Along. Revisit your notes and see which reflection questions resonated best with students. Highlight the classroom activities and educator practices that opened the door to deeper connections. By considering the connections you made now, you can build on this practice and be ready to hit the ground running next year.

We hope that the experience of reflection helps you and your students see all the things to be proud of — whether that’s leveling up in chemistry, sharing more of your own life, or adapting (once again) to new learning methods. Thanks to your work in Along, you and your students have gotten through this past year together and with a meaningful connection built to last.