Dictionary.com has many definitions for reflection. I found one most interesting — “an unfavorable remark or observation.” What an odd definition for such a powerful tool. I have been asking my students to reflect on their work for years — knowing that through reflection we grow in our understanding of both ourselves and the content we are learning. As I further pondered this definition, I began to see some truth in it. Through reflection, we see how things (life, love, teaching, etc.) could have been done differently. I guess if it could have been done differently, that means I failed the first time, right?
I think (no, I know) that it is this fear of failure that has kept me from blogging. I have read, commented, and even tweeted, but blogging seemed too far out of my comfort zone — what on Earth do I have to say that someone else would be interested in reading?
Now, I have always been a reflective thinker. I reflect on each day’s lesson, pouring over the details, wondering why the same lesson worked with some classes and not others. My reflective process, however, often involved post-it notes and “to-do” lists. Blogging, not so much.
Today marks my 4th post, and as I write, I am finally realizing the cathartic nature of reflecting…reflecting for others to see. This is no private journal. I am letting the world experience my successes and failures because an authentic audience adds purpose. Yes, I reflected on my teaching, but now others can reflect on it as well. What better way to grow than to let others in and take part in your growth?
I feel today how I have always hoped my students would feel as they reflected on their own work — stronger. I fear that probably has not been the case. What was their authentic audience? I had not given them one — an audience of one may not be enough. Tomorrow starts a new day, a day in which I engage my students in writing beyond just me as the reader. Here’s to tomorrow.
What ways do you bring authenticity into the classroom?