Saturday, November 19, 2016

Questions to Ask

A few months ago, I wrote this post—about how reflection only works if we put ourselves in front of a mirror and take a really close look at ourselves, without letting blame get in the way.

I heard from some teachers and school leaders who asked for specific questions they could consider when looking in that mirror. 

Here’s a start.

When thinking about successes:

How did the momentum begin?

What was your role?

What was the antecedent to success?  In other words, where did it all begin?  

What are next steps?

When wondering what areas need improvement in your work:

Look at the people you work with.  Do they seem negative, frustrated, or unable to move forward?  Why might that be?

Are people talking to you—repeatedly—about a particular need or concern?

What makes you fill with dread?  What are you avoiding because solutions are murky or difficult? 

When thinking about traits you’d like to foster in yourself and others:

Make a list of your favorite character traits.  Install them into this sentence (I use "loyal" as a character trait in my example, because I looooooooove loyalty):

What does (loyalty) mean?  To whom are you (loyal)?  Who do you feel is (loyal) to you?  Why?  

What kind of people surround you?  Are they people who make you a better and bigger person--or an ineffective, marginalized one?   

When you are struggling in your job, and aren’t sure why:

What are you loving right now?  What is "filling you up"?
What is making you uncomfortable?

Are there ways that you—or others around you—could work more efficiently? 

Are you balancing your work with your life?  Are you doing the things you need to do to keep you healthy? 

What commitments have you made?  Are they the right commitments for you, for now, for the people you love?  Are you honoring them?

These are just a few questions to get you started on trying to figure out what is working and what isn’t.  It’s not easy being a teacher and a school principal, especially these days.  Pointed, focused  reflection on how we’re doing can help us keep balanced and tuned into our own success and challenges. 

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