CSTA Classroom Science

DEI Summer Assignment: Reflecting on Our Practices

By Nishat Alikhan, Bree Barnett Dreyfuss, Reuben Medlock, Zoë Randall, Tara Sikorski, DEI Committee

The end of the school year is always a bittersweet transition. We are simultaneously thinking of the next school year as the eternal New Year’s Day of the future while reminiscing about the children who are walking out our doors, potentially for the last time. Reflection is key for a healthy transition between this school year’s past and present as we climb our way from the teacher's tired days of May and June to the optimistic (and maybe a bit begrudged) mornings of August and September. 

Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash

Sometimes we know exactly what we will change for the next year.  Let’s be honest, we all have that one thing that we committed to doing the entire year and should have changed it, or even abandoned it, way back in October.  Other times, we need to sit with our discomfort a little bit more and have an honest talk with ourselves about what did and didn’t work for students. It is ok to sit with some discomfort, but recognize that you are part of a larger world that is responsible for your students and their education. 

So, when you have the time to sit and think beyond the last few hectic weeks of school, we invite you to try out some of these equity and inclusion-focused reflection questions. We encourage you to engage with these questions in different modalities. You could try writing or doodling your thoughts, annotating your planner/curriculum, or even discussing your reflections with a trusted colleague or with your content/grade level team.  

  • When you reflect back on the 2023-2024 school year, what stands out for you? What were your little wins? What were your moments of struggle?  Who helped you in those moments?
  • What policies/practices/routines did you feel like you were stuck doing the whole year? Which students were most impacted by those policies/practices/routines? Why did you think you had to continue those practices? What showed you that change was finally needed? 
  • Who was your instruction successful for?  Who wasn’t it successful for?  What might you try differently for those students next time?
  • What new strategies/practices, if any, did you try this year? How did they work? What would you do differently next time in regard to this specific strategy or practice?
  • Which student(s) were you able to build a deep connection with and why?  Which student(s) did you struggle to build connections with and why?  
  • How is student voice and choice evident in your curriculum?  In what ways might you provide students the opportunity to give you feedback?
  • What words of wisdom or encouragement would you like to give the August/September version of yourself?

Hopefully, we’ve prompted you to think a little more deeply about your students and impact.  We also hope that you’ve identified the next small steps that could help your next class of students to learn a little more, grow a little more, and achieve all that you want in your year together. 

We wish your summer break provides you with what you need and that you have a chance to breathe, reflect, and rejuvenate.  We look forward to seeing you again in the fall! 



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