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Reflect and Reset: Tips for Becoming a Better Math Teacher

Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a teaching rut? Or pictured yourself spinning on that endless teaching hamster wheel? Then, you need time for some teacher reflection.

No matter how good your lesson is, there is always room for improvement.

One of the most effective ways to grow as a teacher is having the ability to self-reflect on your practice.

teacher reflecting with notebook

When you’re self-reflective you are able to stay current, develop reflective students, and create a strong foundation for continuously improving teaching and learning.

You may be thinking: “Hey! I’m a teacher, remember! I don’t have enough time to reflect. I’m just trying to make it through the day.”

I hear you! But I also want to remind you that although you are a teacher, you are not a robot.

Taking a few minutes here and there to jot down a couple of thoughts, or better yet, intentionally inserting time to reflect into your lessons can help immensely.

If you’re unsure of where to find teacher reflection time during school hours, here are some easy-to-implement ideas.

woman looking at clocks

5 Ways to Insert Teacher Reflection Time Into Your Day:

  • Talk to You Teacher Friends: During team meetings, make it a habit to take a couple of minutes and share how each other’s lessons went.
  • Keep a Journal Nearby: At the end of the day, take 5 minutes to jot down any insights or A-HA moments.
  • Create Your Own Quiet Time: When your kids are out of the room, close the door, dim the lights and find that corner where no one can see you through your door window. 
  • Jot Down Your Thoughts While Your Students Reflect On Their Own: When your students are busy completing their own reflections, use that time to do the same.
  • Record Audio of Your Phone: Instead of writing, tell your thoughts for the day. Some of us are more natural speakers than we are writers. This is a quick and easy way to reflect.

How you choose to reflect is up to you!

So now you may be wondering, what exactly should I be asking myself.

question marks on a chalkboard

Use these teacher reflection questions as a guide to help you improve your instructional practices:

  • Was today’s lesson successful? Why or why not?
  • What was the most challenging? How will I respond next time?
  • Were my students engaged? If not, how can I change that?
  • Am I creating a positive environment for learning math? How?
  • Do my assessments reflect conceptual learning, task completion or skill acquisition?

And most important:

  • What have I done lately to relieve stress and focus on my own mental health to ensure I remain an effective teacher?

Although you’re a teacher, you’re still a human. And you can’t teach properly if you’re at the end of your rope.

Time is needed to think about what worked and what did not work so that you can become even better. Use any of the 5 strategies above to carve out the time you need. You deserve it!

If you are interested in more ways to reflect, check out these other posts to help think about your math instruction.

8 Things to Consider When Planning Your Math Centers​​

How to Choose Meaningful Math Centers: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

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