Reflect Refocus Renew Refreshing Your Professional Spirit

By Jenn Hayhurst

The origin of #G2Great was born out of reflection. A conversation that began in my home office over Twitter with a fellow literacy coach, Amy Brennan, and a brilliant author – yes, I am talking about you, Dr. Mary Howard.  Together, we were able to connect and create something that has grown as a source for weekly reflection on a grand scale. It was our desire to reflect with greater intention because #G2Great was, and forever will be, inspired by Mary’s book, Good to Great Teaching Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters. As the chat grew we needed backup! The addition of Fran McVeigh completed our team, and now there is no looking back. We are always striving to, Reflect, Refocus, and Renew (so we may) Refresh Our Professional spirit…

As I meandered my way through Storify to write this week’s blog post, I realized that the #G2Great  community is totally stoked in reflection! You all shared practices and insights and this lifted my spirit in ways that were both inspiring and reaffirming.

Making Reflection A Habit of Mind Through Daily Practice 

There is no one right way to reflect, the real power for reflection lies in daily practice. When we allow ourselves to just stop breathe and focus on the practices we are holding up our, in the words of Dr. Gravity Goldberg,  admiring lens to ourselves. We are so worth the effort! Every time we reflect, we are rooting ourselves in deep appreciation for our teaching. We are being intellectually curious and that leads to wonder and discovery:

Probing Possibilities Reflecting Our Way to Personal Growth and Goal Setting

Reflection spurs change because it is the thoughtful pause that gives us time to nurture growth. Goals are like seeds for reflection work, unlocking our potential. Sometimes we have a plan for our goals, tending to them, reflecting on our needs so they may blossom. Sometimes goals can be like wildflowers!  All we have to do is to reflect on what is happening in real time right in front of us, and we see patterns in a beautiful landscape we could not have anticipated. In essence, reflection makes our goals visible, it opens up the landscape for meaningful discourse, and it sharpens our attention for what matters most:

Outgrowing Ourselves Through Reflection

Knowing what you believe is a beginning, not an ending. Reflection is the thing that keeps us flexible and free-thinking if we do it with open minds and hearts. When we untether risk from fear we allow ourselves to take that leap. Every time teachers reflect to expand their beliefs to accommodate a pluralistic lens we push ourselves to grow.  Whenever we are receptive to our students, colleagues, or when we decide to try new things we are outgrowing ourselves:

Writing to Reflect Because Writing Will Set You Free

Writing has changed me in ways that I cannot explain; while at the same time, it has brought me to home to know myself in ways I could not have imagined. Teaching demands authenticity we cannot teach what we don’t understand. Understanding of all things begins once we understand ourselves. Therefore, reflection is a practice that is not bound by the school day, season, or year – it is the work of a lifetime. Reflection is our inner voice, our constant companion, and when we write we are setting ourselves free to create and discover:  

As I close out my post to you, I am humbled by an overwhelming feeling of connectedness to all the teachers who are willing to share during our weekly chats. Teaching can feel very solitary at times, because minute by minute, we are making decisions that shape our students’ view of themselves and of the world. Some days we will be defeated, some days we will triumph and the space between these realities is filled with a million reflections. The good news is we don’t have to do this on our own, we can look within ourselves and within each other to reflect, refocus, and renew:

2 thoughts on “Reflect Refocus Renew Refreshing Your Professional Spirit”

  1. Thank you for this post! You give some wonderful advice about reflection. It is often something that goes by the wayside in our busy professional and personal lives – but oh so critical to our roles as teachers and learners. I need to get back to the #G2Great chats. I am a retired principal, but I still love to enrich my educator’s mind and voice.

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