I walk my two dogs every morning for about a half hour and dedicate this time to reflecting on my students, where we've been, and where we're going.
I try to do the same - whether it's a morning walk before work or during my commute to work. I take time to reflect on the things that are working and think about ways to improve those things that are not. I find talking with other educators is also helpful
Luckily, I made keeping a teaching journal one of my official "goals" for my probationary period. Surprisingly to me, my vice-principal thought it was a great goal. This means that I now feel beholden to write in my teaching journal and that it is a legit activity. I think without this external commitment to keep a journal I would not make the time to do so. I often end up writing about the nagging problems that I feel like I'm having in the classroom. It becomes a place where I can brainstorm solutions. Usually I don't implement them right away, but because I have a record of those ideas, I often get around to implementing them eventually.
I think a lot about what practical, concrete results I can get out of a lesson, but I'm never sure if this is the right focus. Earlier in my career I constructed so many interesting, engaging lessons that really kept the kids' interest. But then I had difficulty proving to myself that these lessons actually taught anything measurable or even useful. I think I've been brainwashed by all the focus on testing and the common core. Rather than simply engaging my students and teaching them to think, I focus more now on whether what I'm teaching can serve them in the future, and how they can USE the skills I'm teaching. I can't say I reflect in writing often, but I think constantly about how to refine what I'm doing.
I often reflect on my teaching during my 3o minute commute to and from school. I like the idea of a teaching journal, Brigid!
I work with an ed tech in my room. We talk daily about lessons; how the lessons went, what could be done differently and if we were able to accomplish the learning goals. I think it helps improve my instruction.
At the beginning of the school year, I tend to make more of an effort to reflect on my teaching practice, daily. I believe this is primarily because when a lesson plan does not go well or if students go wild in favorable response I take more notice at the start of the year. I tend to focus on how I might revisit the lesson plan the next day, scaffolding instruction differently or making sure that I repeat a successful approach.
I carpool with two fellow teachers and we do a lot of reflection on the way to and from school. It is a great support network and gets to the social aspect of reflection.
I tend to reflect in the shower in the morning. It's the only time I really get to myself and I am getting ready for the school day. This year, I started keeping notes on a unit we are doing. I was going to just keep notes on where each class was and what students needed extra help, etc. It has turned more reflective than I had thought it would. I guess that just shows my need for reflection-it found it's own way in.
Oh my gosh!! its, not it's....of all places....
I love the idea of a teaching journal- smart to make it a formal goal. I am grateful to my friend and colleague who listens to ideas for projects and assignments and provide feedback. I also occasionally ask students' input on projects that they especially enjoyed/found valuable which is also interesting!