In two sentences: Reflection plus a creative outlet breeds confidence. Confidence produces progress.
Students begin each school year with a set of beliefs. A set of beliefs about who they are, what they can do, and what the world says about them. Students walk through 180 school days. I wouldn’t dare to say that there is ever a child to leave a school year as the exact same person as when he entered. However, many students’ beliefs fail to change as they change. This is where the reflection process becomes necessary. Reflection is the act of processing past events–in this case, a school year. Reflection is a slow, deep process that derives self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is hard, especially in a world full of a media bombarding us with a less-than-good-enough message about ourselves. Without self-knowledge how can we realize how far we’ve come? Without realizing how far we’ve come, how can we grow?
I refuse to believe that merely thinking about the past is enough to breed confidence. A type of creative outlet specific to the individual must be utilized for optimum success. How many times have I thought about something I’d really like to remember and completely blown it off 37 minutes later? Gosh, I don’t even want to know. The times I have spent with my sketchbook or my journal, though, are moments I will never forget. In January, my car was stolen the second day after I moved to NC from IA. It was an emotionally draining and, quite frankly, annoying situation. A few weeks ago, though, I sat down on the porch with my journal and wrote my way through reflection. I wrote how I felt, what happened, and how I experienced those moments of distress. Now, I am able to hold that reflection process close to my heart. I can see how much I’ve grown. I believe in myself to handle other strife that may come my way. I’m full of a confidence based on what I have accomplished; that confidence inspires me to reach even loftier goals. It’s next to impossible to be confident in your abilities without a meaningful reflection period. I don’t know what this would look like for you or your students. Most likely, it will look slightly different for each individual. It may be drawing, writing, group discussion, painting, nature walking, or singing. The outlets are limitless.
This reflection process has a divine way of breeding confidence. I can’t fully explain it; I can simply present my own testimony. Instilling this beautiful, self-endorsed confidence in young students and brilliant teachers has the power to change the course of history. Self-reflectors are full of a confidence that is paired with awareness. Self-reflection not only reviews the past accomplishments, but sheds light on future goals. We are able to see how far we’ve come and realize how far we can go, all with an inner confidence that reigns most powerful.
You, dear teacher, are brilliant. Thank you for providing students with a past school year worthy of reflection. A past school year with the potential to breed confidence, prowess, and progress.