Here at Trinity, at the end of each calendar year, we begin a performance assessment period. The period begins with each employee completing a self-assessment. If you’ve never done a self-assessment before, I’m telling you, it is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. A self-assessment requires you to openly and honestly reflect upon your performance over the past year and then put into words the things you have done well and the areas in which you may have fallen short of a goal. If you are like me, you might find it hard to admit to your short comings.
Despite the discomfort we might feel when confronting our weaknesses, I believe that self-reflection is absolutely essential for growth both personally and professionally. Having the courage to admit that we acted poorly and taking steps to improve may actually produce results. It’s when we don’t fully realize the problem or admit it to ourselves that we have a hard time fixing it. You can’t fix a leaky faucet without locating the leak first. I think that a lot of New Year’s Resolutions are like trying to fix a leaky faucet. People try to quit smoking or lose weight but they never really think about why they smoke or are overweight in the first place.
The good thing about a Self-Assessment is that it encourages you to focus on the great accomplishments you have made as well. While you are being brutally honest with yourself about your misses, you should equally be celebrating your hits. When you are thinking about a goal that you fell short of it’s a good idea to flip the switch and focus on another goal that you knocked out of the park. Looking at these two goals, met and un-met, side-by-side tells you that you still have far to go but that you have the tools to complete good work.
I mention self-assessments not just because they are on my mind but because despite how uncomfortable they make me feel I believe they do a world of good. Teachers (and their students) can benefit from being a reflective practitioner. I was reminded today that high school students are in the midst of mid-terms; isn’t that a great time for teachers to look at what worked the first half of the year and what didn’t? Moving forward, teachers can utilize what worked and improve what didn’t. Self-assessments are a great way to put our finger on whether or not it’s our own short comings or if it’s a disruptive student causing us to fall short of our goals. It doesn’t have to be the entire semester either. Teachers can take the time at the end of each day and think about the good and the bad and change what needs to be changed or remember what really worked.
So how do we do it? How do we assess ourselves in our lives and in our jobs? There are tons of Self-Assessments available on the web. However, I think the best assessment for teachers is to be a daily reflective practitioner whether through journaling or taking notes on lesson plans. But if you really want to look inside yourselves and be uncomfortably honest here’s a few things you can think about to really assess yourself:
1.) Did I meet my goals for this year (month, day)?
2.) What were my major accomplishments?
3.) Which area could use improvement?
4.) What challenges prevented me from achieving my goals?
5.) What goals do I have moving forward and what do I need to achieve them?
Happy New Year!