What Makes a Good Day at School?

My dad always had a scoresheet that he would fill out for me when he watched my basketball games. Often before games, he would ask me what my goals for the game would be, and when I would become unrealistic in my goal setting, he would gently remind me of the type of player I was and how I can be the most valuable to my team. When the game had ended and the outcome was determined, we usually had a review of my stats and the overall team’s accomplishments or shortcomings. It was immediate realization as to whether or not I played a good game and if we played well as a team.

I don’t know about you, but I envy the simplicity of evaluation when it comes to basketball. Did I meet the goals or expectations that I had set as an individual player or as a team? As educators, however, things are just not that simple in determining whether or not we had a good day at work or a bad one.

I recently found myself frustrated at the idea that I had no way of answering the simple and continual question: “How was your day?” Often my answer would simply be a reflection of how many things went wrong or how many interruptions happened in my day.

4 Evaluative Questions

In hopes to have a better evaluation of my days, I have adopted four questions I ask myself each day.

  1. What would make today great? I have begun to journal five minutes every morning and one of the questions that I ask myself during this time is, “What would make today great?” In some ways, this question is setting some goals for the day, a set of expectations that are either met or not met, but give me a clearer picture of how my day went.
  1. Was I obedient or outcome driven? So often my day is wrecked by unexpected problems that arise. You know the feeling. You have a phenomenal lesson plan for the day and all of the sudden a student situation becomes priority number one. I was dissatisfied with reflecting on days that these things happened that did not allow for my perfect school day. Instead, I want to ask, “Was I obedient to the things that the Lord placed in my way that day?” Not more concerned with whether or not a parent liked the explanation as to why I disciplined their child, but chiefly concerned with whether or not I was obedient to speaking the truth in love.
  1. What did I learn today? It should go without saying, but as educators, we must model a lifestyle that learning is important and vital. I never want to be stagnant in growth, but always moving forward, and many of these lessons are learned through my failures. Assessing my day on the basis of what I learned reminds me each day to strive towards this goal.
  1. In what ways did I experience the glory of the Lord’s goodness? The bell rings so fast in our days that we rarely ever take the time to reflect on such a powerful question. Few questions of reflection might be able to top this. To take the time to think through the ways in which the Lord showed up in our classrooms on a daily basis is a simple reminder that He is ever present in them. I pray that as I continue to ask this question, my eyes might be keener in noticing His presence. These are the things worth celebrating and sharing!

These are some of my stat categories that I choose to reflect on when the day is done. They keep me from my often cynical reflections of all that went wrong in my day and point me more in a healthier direction of evaluation.

We must have a target to shoot for so that at the end of the day, we can know whether the day was a win. These four questions have been a helpful target for me to aim at each day.

By Scott McElvain

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