Why Bother to Reflect?

Why Bother to Reflect?

I just recently completed my yearly evaluation. This is a serious survey because it determines whether I will be hired back as a teacher or not. 

This annual performance measurement is a twenty page document called a Self Reflection. I rate myself, as a teacher, in four domains and six sub domains. The scoring categories include; unsatisfactory, basic, proficient or distinguished. After I enter my scores, my principal and I look at them together. Thankfully, he was pleased with my performance this year and as a result, recommended to the school board that I be rehired next year. I am grateful to know that I get to keep my job.  

My Personal Musings

Any teacher knows that self reflection is a constant variable in this particular profession. We ponder while we plan our lessons, muse on them while we teach them and then mull over the results afterward. Was I prepared? Were my students engaged? Did they actually learn what I wanted them to learn? What can I do better next time? 

While my profession requires me to be a reflective person so as to not stagnate as a teacher, my life also requires this same practice in order to grow into a better individual. Without evaluating what I’ve done and what I want to do; where I’ve been and where I want to go, I won’t be moving forward in life. 

Though I do not need to be as formal with a personal self reflection as I am with my professional self reflection, there are some similarities between the two. First of all, self reflection means to consider my areas of weakness. Ignoring my deficiencies, whether on the job or in my personal life, will only make me more deficient. On the other hand, when I recognize where I fall short, then I can find ways to improve. 

On another note, self reflecting also includes knowing my strong points. This knowledge gives me a good basis for furthering my strengths and sharpening my points of weakness. Knowing where I am strong is as equally important as knowing where I am weak. 

Another category I consider, whether in my profession or regular day to day exchanges with others, is my mistakes. If I am not learning from them, then I am only repeating them. Teaching the same failed lesson in my classroom again and again guarantees failure for my students and for me. The same holds true for my relationships outside my classroom. I do not want to repeat the same impatientient or rude attitudes that show up toward my spouse or friends. A repeat of these attitudes ensures my decline of any close or trusting relationships. 

Finally, what are the values that drive my stride toward being a better teacher, wife, or friend? What is so important about getting better at being who I am? For me, it is the difference between living an unsatisfactory life and a distinguished life.

Why bother to reflect? When we take the time to muse, ponder, mull over, dwell on and consider how we are doing in our lives, then we know the true score of our lives.  

Why Bother Noting Habit or A Way of Life?

Why Bother Noting Habit or A Way of Life?

I tried smoking for the first time long before I was of legal age and then it became a habit. This habit became a way of life. I smoked my way through high school, college and the first few years of marriage. When my husband and I talked about starting a family, I imagined what I would look like as a smoking pregnant woman and decided I didn’t like the image. Also, I considered the health risks to the baby, and chose to quit smoking. Then, after our first son’s birth, to take off the baby weight, I picked up a new habit, jogging. Thirty-five years later, I am still jogging. But I don’t consider it a habit any more. To me it has become a way of life. 

When Does A Habit Turn Into a Way of Life?

I am not sure at what point a habit, something that we tell ourselves we need to do over and over again, turns into something that is naturally integrated into everyday living. I read somewhere that it takes at least twenty-eight days or longer to start a new habit or break an old one. I have also read that it is helpful to replace a habit, such as smoking, with a  different habit, such as jogging. 

Yet, maybe it is not so much about replacing one habit with another. Maybe it is more about considering the consequences of our choices. When I quit smoking, it cleared the air, so to speak, for me to think about my health. It was the beginning of something new. For the first time, I thought about my own wellness.

 I was born with good health. I inherited good genes. Hardiness, vigor, strength, and my robustness came from, I believe, my mother’s line. Though my zing comes naturally, when I quit smoking, it dawned on me that I would need to take care of what had been given to me. Quitting smoking was the first of many steps in the direction of maintaining the gift of wellness.  

Now, instead of thinking about bad habits I should quit, or new habits I should begin, I weigh any activity on the basis of whether or not it adds wellness to my life. My good health was, I believe, a gift. Now, I am responsible to nurture it in such a way that it stays with me for the rest of my life. 

I have come to understand wellness as a theme in my life. Knowing when to say yes or no to some new activity that presents itself becomes simpler. If it benefits my wellness, it is a yes. 

Why bother to note a habit or a way of life? It is worth it to note whether or not it is a habit or a way of life. Habits come and go. A way of life stays with you for life.