20 Questions to Help You Refocus
For me, I am nearing the end of the term, only one week to go. And, as I sit here wishing my time away, and counting down the days until the Easter holidays, I can’t help but wonder why I am feeling so exhausted.
I have been teaching since 2001, so I should know the cycles – the ups and downs, but this year seems to be different. Why? I don’t know. It did however, get me to thinking, what can I do about it? I started looking for information, Looked at Teacher Burnout, looked at Mindfulness, looked at article upon article of “stuff”. Not anything seemed to help – it just made me more depressed! It suddenly dawned on me – why are you looking for “inspiration” when you tried so hard to inspire your staff at the beginning of the term! I had forgotten that I had created a resource for my staff that was all about self-reflection and evaluation so that we could plan for a better year in 2017.
I gave this resource to my staff in the beginning of the year, and we have spent three faculty meetings using this resource/planner this term – so how did I forget it???? I don’t know! Especially since this resource brought out some amazing ideas from my staff – ones that I know I hadn’t thought of, and ones that were truly inspiring. The process was simple – write your own personal responses, then as a faculty we wrote group responses to the questions and then worked on the issues that came to light, both good and bad.
Below are the questions that I asked my staff to complete. If you would like a FREE PDF version, click here for the 42 page download.
- Write down what you accomplished last year. What can you celebrate?
- Write down what the faculty/team accomplished last year. What should the group celebrate?
- What worked well with your classes last year? Why?
- What did you do that had the greatest impact with your classes last year? Why?
- What were some of the biggest and most positive lessons you learned last year? How can you use this in the future?
- What were some of the biggest mistakes you learned last year? How can you turn this into a positive the future?
- What are some of the issues that made you angry last year? How can you turn this into a positive the future?
- What were some things you struggled with last year? How can you turn this into a positive the future?
- What are some solutions that you can put into place this year to make your life easier at school?
- What are some solutions that you can put into place this year to make your life easier at home?
- What are some things that you can do to keep yourself healthy this year to make your life easier?
- What worked well in your faculty/team last year? Why?
- What didn’t work well in your faculty/team last year? Why?
- What would like to see happen this year in your faculty/team this year?
- What is your vision for the faculty/team?
- How could we make some of these ideas happen?
- What would stop us from making these ideas happen?
- How could we overcome these obstacles?
- If you had to choose three ideas from you list, what would they be and why?
- Now choose one idea and write down the steps/resources you need to make it happen.
These 20 questions do seem rather simple, but I must tell you that my staff really struggled to reflect on their own successes from last year. They found it easy to discuss the negatives, but the positives, and the possible solutions, took a little longer to find. As professionals, I encourage you to take the time to use these questions at least once a year. If you can do these more regularly, for example once a term, you will find it much easier to find and focus on the positives.
Until next time
Julia from Jooya