Reflect Now to Improve Your Teaching Next Year

The school year comes to a close next week and I am already thinking about next year.


This is the best time to reflect on our teaching practice. We can look closely at the things that went right, what went wrong, and what we can improve on for the new school year.

I had a new assignment this past year and I have to admit that I didn’t do nearly as good a job as I should have.

I bumbled through the best I could and I learned a lot along the way. It was around March Break where I finally thought, “I have this figured out now.” I tried to implement a few changes to the classroom routine at that point but many of my students had a hard time adjusting. They were set in their ways and weren’t as eager as I was to streamline and improve things.

I am returning to the same assignment next year and I know now what I need to do differently to make things run smoother. I know what changes I need to implement on Day 1 in September. And you probably do to.

1) Make Lists

If something didn’t work for you this year, make a list of things you’d like to change.

I know that I want to have my music classroom set up a little differently next year. One day a week, I am going to use centres so I can use small group instruction to differentiate learning.

I am going to make sure I set up the classroom with five rows of three on either side of the room so that there will be a middle aisle for me and the students to move around in. I will be explaining these ideas in more detail in a Teaching Tip Tuesday post about specifically about teaching music. Stay tuned for that.

2) Use Technology 

I already use a lot of technology including the Smartboard, Clickers, Finale, Audacity, and Smart Music. But next year, I plan on flipping my classroom (in a fashion.) I will be recording some video lessons this summer. This way I can work with a small group in person but also run another small group at the same time via video.

3) Create a Detailed Long Range Plan

A year plan can be a living document. You don’t have to write one and then leave it alone. You can modify it, add to it, remove things, switch things around.

First, create one by looking specifically at the curriculum expectations. Then decide the best ways you can teach those expectations and motivate students at the same time. Decide on units, themes, and the time frame you want to accomplish everything over the course of a school year.

4) Speak to Students’ Interest and Needs

Many of our students aren’t interested in big band or classical music. As such, I plan on using pop music and songs they actually know more often next year.

Don’t Stop There

I have a lot of ideas for the new school year. I am writing them down and I am starting to work on my year plan already. My program is going to be so much better next year.

That’s the mark of a good teacher. Taking the time to reflect and being motivated to improving student motivation and learning.

I won’t be taking this summer off. I will be reading, writing, planning, and playing the instruments.

Do you have any ideas or tips you’d like to share?

Please leave a comment below!