Working on growth and seeking out opportunities with end-of-year teacher reflections!
Growth…let’s be honest…as long as it’s not on our waistline, growth is something we see as valuable and good.
We encourage our students to focus on growth.
If a student’s reading scores are low, the first thing we do is look back to previous scores to see if there has been a pattern of growth over time. If there is, then the low scores are less of a cause for concern and more of a cause to celebrate!
Having a growth mindset is something we work on throughout the year with our students. We encourage them to seek out honest feedback on their work and to try activities and games over and over to work toward improvement. Sometimes we even go so far as to graph out our progress to show growth over time to really emphasize the improvement.
As teachers, we know that to help a student develop a growth mindset is truly a gift that will help them when they get into tough situations in the future, or when they come across a topic or subject that really stumps them.
But today, we aren’t really talking about our students…are we? Today is about us. The teacher.
Duh.. Duh.. Duh……..
How do we work on our own growth mindset?
I know that many of you reading this blog are all like Mary who is “practi-cally perfect in every way,” but even then, I’m sure there are at least a few itty bitty improvements you can work on.
Seriously though, how do we make sure that we are growing over time and not remaining stagnant?!
Although it is easy to self-reflect at the end of the year and consider how we feel the year has gone. The real reflection comes after we do as we tell our students to do and ‘seek out honest feedback.’
I’ve found myself saying to students and adults that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ and this also applies to our teaching practices and our work with students.
Although we are subject matter experts and we have taken course after course on how to help kids learn, we often don’t really know if we are achieving our goals or really meeting our students’ needs.
That is why we strongly encourage educators to do end-of-year teacher reflections with their students.
Task Cards for End-of-Year Teacher Reflections
Although getting feedback from students (especially the really honest ones) can make you want to curl up in bed and cover your head with a pillow, if we look at this process as a growth exercise, and we tell our students the same thing, it takes a lot of pressure off.
We don’t want our students to spend this reflection time singing our praises and telling us how awesome we are…unless that is truly how they feel…we want them to give us opportunities.
Honest feedback and reflection really provide opportunities to the recipient, and if students can give us specific feedback and ideas for improvement we have the opportunity to become even better at what we do.
To make this process as easy as possible for teachers, we designed these Rockin’ End-of-Year Student Survey Cards to make this process fun and focused.
Each task card asks students to respond to a question or statement. Each question asks the students something about their experience of the school year. Some examples include questions like… “My teacher had high expectations for me.” or “I knew what to expect when I misbehaved.” The student is then given five options to choose from ranging from “I strongly agree.” to “I strongly disagree.”
Along with the task cards, this set also includes a student answer sheet, where they can circle their answer to each question.
Optional: Although knowing how they feel on a scale is good, sometimes it is nice to get even more information from them. So, I sometimes encourage my students to give a little more explanation for their ‘disagree’ and ‘strongly disagree’ statements on the back of the sheet, so I have a better idea of what they were thinking when they answered.
In addition to the questions that ask students to reply based on a range of agreements, we also have some task cards that ask open-ended questions such as “If you could change one thing that happened this year, what would it be.” and “What was your biggest challenge this year?”
These questions allow students to elaborate a little more and you’ll get more variety in your responses.
Notice, that although we call these end-of-year teacher reflections, the questions are not only teacher-focused. They are asking about the student’s overall school experience because reflecting as a teacher is really about self-reflection + reflecting on the learning and school environment as a whole. It is both of those things that make up a student’s ‘school year.’
Google Form Version!!
If you are a teacher who wants to get good feedback but you want to get all the information sorted for you, then you will love the Google Forms version of this activity! Students will answer all the same questions in the Google Form and then their answers will be sorted for you to easily review in the results. You can also mix and match both versions…whatever works best for your students!
Questions to Ask Students During End-of-Year Teacher Reflections
When creating end-of-year teacher reflections, we suggest focusing on four areas…
- student feelings
- school environment
Below we have some example questions for each category.
Note: Some of these questions are written with the “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” scale in mind. We have labeled those questions with an (*).
- How do you feel this year went?
- I will look back on this school year favorably.*
- This school year brought lots of personal changes for me.*
- I made a lot of new friends this year.*
- I had a hard time this year.*
- I felt supported by my teachers this year.*
- My teacher made school fun this year.*
- What activities were the most fun for you this year?
- I really feel like my teacher understands what I like and don’t like.*
- Which lesson did your teacher seem most excited about?
- Which lesson did your teacher seem least excited about?
- Give an example of a time when your teacher supported you on a bad day.
- I feel safe at school.*
- I like the way the classroom is decorated.*
- It is easy to find things I’m looking for in the classroom.*
- I feel comfortable going to the nurse when I’m hurt.*
- I feel comfortable talking to the principal.*
- I know who all of the people in the front office are and how they can help me.*
- What adult do you feel most comfortable with at school?
- What topic was hardest for you to understand this year?
- What were we studying when you felt the most stressed or concerned?
- How do you feel like you did academically this year?
- What activity do you feel you do the best on?
- What activity would you like to see us do more often?
- What subject do you wish we would have skipped?
- What subject do you wish we would have studied or studied longer?
You can take all the pressure off of this activity by downloading the Rockin’ End-of-Year Student Survey Cards or you can create your own activity using some of the questions on this list…or you can combine both into a customized version of the activity. No matter what you choose, you are definitely going to learn a little something from your students, which will give you even more opportunities to improve in the future.
Looking for more end-of-year activities for your students? Check out 5 Activities for the Last 2 Weeks of School. This blog post talks more about end-of-year teacher reflections with the Rockin’ End-of-Year Student Survey Cards as well as 4 additional activities you can consider for those last few weeks of school. We also have some ideas in a post accurately named…Testing is over…Now what? End of the Year Activities!
Happy End-of-Year everyone!