Reflection on Practice: If Profession Athletes Do it Why Don’t Professional Teachers?

CaptureListening to interviews prior to the super bowl players spoke about how they prepared. They studied videos learning the plays and strategies. As I prepared for classes the following day I began to wonder about why educators don’t do that more often. Why are we not analyzing videos of our work in preparation for upcoming days?

Five years ago when I began National Board Certification the most gut wrenching part was watching a lesson of mine on video. Once I got over how I looked and sounded on the video, I had a fly on the wall view of my classroom. It was clear to see how my instructional decisions impacted the students. I could see who was on task, engaged and excited. I could trace the learning taking place. Watching video with the lens of improving practice was the most pivotal part of the National Board process for me. My vision of my classroom led to real change in my approach to students and delivery of lessons.

For three years after National Board Certification I didn’t video a lesson. I felt stagnant, flat, like I was just going through the routine. After screwing around with my ipad I left it on, getting an entire class on video.  I became curious about the insight the video held. As I watched the video my passion to use it as a tool for honing in on my practice was reignited. Once again, my sense of how my practices were affecting student learning grew. As the ‘third party’ in my classroom I noticed multiple areas that could be refined in an effort to improve student learning.

And so it began. I made a more conscious effort to engage and ignite learning in everyone. The questions I asked students became more deep. I uncovered pedagogy that worked well with one class and not with another. I realized differences in affect that may be shifting how students were taking in the material. I began adjusting lessons accordingly.

To this day I analyze video of at least one lesson per month. It guides me with staying in touch with apex of the science and the art of teaching. From myself to the students, each time I tape I gain valuable insight to what is happening within my classes. As a student in graduate school I was told that no lesson will ever be perfect. It is essential to find the balance between self-criticism and celebration of success. Always have your finger on the pulse of the classroom. Always work on improving something.

As a professional I continue to wonder why this isn’t apart of our daily, monthly, weekly routines. Why are we not continually looking to reflect and refine? If it is regular practice for professional athletes, let’s make it regular practice for professional educators.