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But...2020 Is still Worth Processing

What did you love? And what do you want to be different next year? 

No Doubt A Challenging Year

The past year has been a challenging one for many reasons. One of the tough things is that it was unpredictable. This year was unlike anything any of us have ever experienced, and several things were out of our control as educators, athletes, parents as well as humans. However, it is still worthwhile to process how the year went. When unpredictable things show up in life, there is value in looking at how it went.  

See it All At Once

There are things each of us did well this year, and it is worth acknowledging our strengths. When I look at each day as a runner, I see a collection of miles that may or may not have been at the pace I wanted. The run feels isolated. However, Strava, the app that I use to track biking and running mileage, recently sent out “The Year in Sport”. When I looked at how many days I was active, how many hours I had run, elevation that was gained as well as mileage, I realized that my year as an athlete in 2020 has been extraordinary.  

A Success Story

2020 has been filled with several extraordinary things. My 2020 looks very different from what I thought it would be. However, as I look back on the year, I see 12 months filled with success and hope. In January of 2020, I set out to “Chase the Impossible'', and somehow it seems as if that has happened. I am filled with gratitude as I stop to think about the year. It is important to be content but not complacent. Being proud of accomplishments is important. It is important to celebrate what went well while later pausing to consider not what went wrong, but what could change or be different.  

No Such Thing as Weakness

I have never liked the term “weakness”. In my mind, a “weak area” is something that has not been given enough attention yet. It is an area that can become a strength with enough focus and determination. “Weak areas” have a possibility of becoming some of our strongest traits.  However, the only way to develop more strengths is to pay attention and evaluate what can be done differently. 

Reflection Moves us Forward

As each year comes to a close, it is important to reflect on the year.  However, the year sounds like a pass or a fail, good or bad, without being specific. No matter how difficult, defeating and frustrating a year has been, there is good in each day.  In addition to looking at what went well over the year, and what we want to be different as the new year approaches, it is important to develop an action step to move reflection forward. 

2020 Year in Review

Here is the complete evaluation that I will use to look at areas of my life outside of school. It is impossible to experience total balance, but it is possible to uncover what can be improved and methods to make it happen.  The full PDF includes items specific to my job as a high school teacher, with a large concentration on being virtual to items related to my health, relationships with my husband and kids, and even how I build in time to relax.  

The Complete 2020 Evaluation

Here is the link to the complete 2020 Evaluation.

One Area at a Time

Sometimes it is overwhelming to look at each area of our lives at the same time.  Instead of reflecting on my job as a teacher in the same evening I spend considering future vacations and my social media use, I choose to break this up so that I can spend more focused time on each area.  I go over one area each night to research my action step and be specific about not only when I want to complete it but the path I am hoping to take to do so. My job description changed this year.  Not only do I have a large virtual component to my day, I am teaching a subject and grade levels that I have not taught in a few years. I am choosing to give myself a lot of grace as I look at the year.  

3 Parts to the Year

I am going to select the last six months to consider as I fill out this evaluation. The interesting thing about teaching is that I had three completely different experiences.  January to mid-March was filled with typical teaching and very similar to a traditional experience of which I am familiar. The middle of March through the middle of June was a virtual experience, but very different from what I am doing now. In August, we found out that a handful of our students would be in virtual classes, while a number would learn in person. The classroom dynamics changed again, as our district became 100 percent virtual between late November and late January. As I think about the path education has taken over the last 12 months, I am incredibly proud of how I have adapted to change.  

My Job

How did it go? 

(Good, average, poor)

What did I do well?

What do I want to be different? 

Action Step

Plan or date to be Completed


Creating a digital classroom

Providing Feedback to students

Connecting/ Building relationships with students 

Mastering concepts? Student Learning Visible

Am I teaching or only assigning work?

Planning lessons and organizing content

Communicating with parents

Learning/ Exploring new technology

Connecting with other educators

Have an End time to the day

There was good in 2020

I am certainly ready for a new year, filled with new opportunities. Maybe 2020 did not go as planned, but extraordinary things happened. As some things were taken away and the year became more unpredictable, time and space for other things were added. I loved many things about the year but going forward, choose not to repeat some of the things I did. Processing my part in the year with an evaluation allows me to see how next year can be amazing. It is not possible to focus on getting better at everything at the same time.  However, anything is possible, and area can be improved. 

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