Monday, 27 February 2012

Mirror mirror on the wall....

I have always been rather afflicted with my own reflection.  I can hear husband laughing at this first sentence when he reads it! I don't actually mean the one in the mirror every morning.  Having said that there are mornings, after sleepless nights with children or school worries, that I could probably turn faint hearted individuals to stone!  I mean self evaluation, reflection, appraisal.  Deciding which bits of you are rubbish and what to do about them, and even harder which bits are fabulous and ought to be shouted about.

This comes to mind for two reasons, the fact that I am working on school self evaluation this evening and the reception class fairytale topic.  Our youngest are immersed in fairytales at the moment.  There is a large pair of giant's legs dangling from a beanstalk on the ceiling. This is literally terrifying if I pop in at the weekend and forget they are there whilst unlocking!  It's ok, no giants were harmed in the making of this learning environment! It's actually a pair of AHT's son's tracksuit trousers stuffed with newspaper with wellies on the end.  As well as the beanstalk there are gingerbread men, woodcutters happy woodland creatures and best of all a huge 'mirror mirror' on the wall. 

I find writing reflectively quite hard, one of the reasons I started this blog.  With it being a small school I always seem to be too busy doing the work to write about it.  I am not naturally a folder keeper and am stunningly bad at filing.  AHT has steadfastly trained me into some systems she put into place while I was on maternity leave. I have to say they have been lifechanging.  This sounds a grand statement but no longer do I waste hours looking for important documents in folders labelled 'stuff...2009,  stuff 2010' etc.  So although I don't find reflection itself hard, I am naturally almost too reflective, I do find making it useful, showing impact and making a paper trail very hard indeed.

We have spent several years in education completing a huge self evaluation document with seven sections that wrote the script for any impending inspection.  When that disappeared I decided to combine self evaluation with the school plan.  The idea being that I reflect, decide what to do next and then plan to do it.  Sounds simple doesn't it....

The trouble is, I have a tendency like many teachers to focus too much on the items on my to do list that are not ticked.  That alongside the constant barrage of media charging us with the responsibility to 'improve, attain more, aim higher' can make positive reflection hard.  As school leaders our 'mirror mirror' has a tendency to give messages that douse our positivity, sometimes even filling us with dread.

Reception class are so positive about themselves within their play and their learning.  Two of them arrived at my office door with a slightly singed gingerbread man a couple of weeks ago and were so proud that they had made it for me themselves.  They often happily tell me as I walk past them what their fairytale character has done that is fantastic in the game they are playing  'I'm the woodcutter Mrs Moore and I just saved EVERYONE!' 'I'm Cinderella and I'm going to the ball to dance and have a lovely time.' It's not just enjoyment, they believe in the magic.  The fairy godmother can make everything ok and those who are good will prevail.  In some ways the naivity of childhood but maybe we lose a little too much of that in the very profession that should keep some of it.

I suppose the point is that we need in this profession to believe in good and to take time to be proud.  To feel really happy with what we achieved, even if it is a little singed around the edges.  To admit sometimes that, like the woodcutter, we saved the day.  What we want to do next will then build on what we feel proud of, which is a solid foundation for future success.

Being proud of what we have done well isn't complacency it's positive reflection.  Alongside challenging next steps and honest evaluation will lead to improvements and excellence.  Hey, maybe we will even have some fun! 

No comments:

Post a comment