The break we have been waiting for is finally here, however short. I guess like me, you have a lot planned: nice movies to binge on, a captivating novel to explore, places to visit and family to attend to. I hate to intrude into these plans but I strongly feel this is the best time to reflect on the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Three months into the year, are you on the right track?
Evaluations are essential in any career to keep employers and employees apprised of how their performance stacks up. Imagine what would happen if we waited till the end of the academic year to assess our students- we would definitely be in for a rude shock. The same concept applies when it comes to teacher-self-evaluations. Aren’t you curious to know what went well and what terribly failed this term? Self-assessmentsare incredibly valuable as they contribute to autonomy and growth.
That being said, it is wise at this point to address the elephant in the room. Why do we dread self-evaluation? Looking in the mirror and offering an accurate description of one’s performance is easier said than done. People often have a difficult time summarising their work in an objective way; some are their own biggest critics, while others don’t scrutinise themselves enough. However, like Chinua Achebe- one of the most prolific African novelists- once said, “A bird that does not fly does not know where the worms are.” If we do not reflect on our best and worst practices, how can we grow?
Speaking of objectivity and open-mindedness, it is advisable not to stagnate during self-assessments; humans are constantly adapting, learning, and changing. Whether you’ve had a great term or fallen short of your own expectations, it’s important to remain optimistic and ambitious to improve and educate yourself. If anything, a year is endowed with 12 months, yet you have only had three of those.
Do not be discouraged if things haven’t taken off as well as you expected; instead, adopt a growth-mindset, and understand that adult human potential is not fixed. We are always in a state of becoming, and our potential increases or decreases based on many factors including the environments where we live, context and work. Adopting such a framework prevents you from becoming too transfixed on your perceived failures and also from becoming too attached to their triumphs.
Conclusively,self-evaluation is a great opportunity for teachers to honestly and objectively consider and document their performance. Properly conducting a self-evaluation can make the difference between a meaningful evaluation and one that is less effective. Take a day out of the few days this break and reflect on how you are doing in relation to the targets you set for 2018.
The writer is a Language Consultant