Now that the book is shut on most spring semesters all around US larger ed, sending some school into exploration and crafting mode and some others to summer programs (or both), it can be a very good time to simply just replicate on the yr and what arrives up coming. I’m large on reflection, for my pupils when I was still teaching, for the school I perform with now, and for myself publish-burnout.
But we often just reflect on how things went past yr or previous semester, what was (un)profitable, and where we have to have to make changes to elements of our do the job in the coming 12 months. Absolutely useful retrospection, but are we going significantly sufficient? Are we giving ourselves the option to shift previous the practical and tactical to really feel about how we are aligning our function to our values and are meeting ambitions that go beyond productivity? To dig additional deeply into what would make us current, engaged, and alive in our get the job done and lifestyle?
Brandy Simula has created about flourishing, both of those in phrases of what flourishing in the academy signifies and how to secure that very well-becoming, formerly in this blog. She states, “the idea of flourishing does not mean that we are content each minute of each and every working day, or that anything or even most matters in our life are going effectively. Flourishing as a substitute signifies that we are able to link to a sense of objective, to experience self-acceptance and particular advancement, and to cultivate our strengths and resilience on an ongoing foundation, even in challenging situations.” But how do we know if we are, in reality, flourishing, especially in the facial area of so a great deal upheaval in the entire world all around us? One easy way is to choose the incredibly quick Flourishing Scale survey. But that only presents you a numeric rating, not self-know-how.
Because creating Agile College: Realistic Approaches for Controlling Analysis, Company, and Teaching (2017, University of Chicago Push), and then experiencing sizeable, life-switching burnout, I have appear to believe about introspection and deep reflection as crucial to my vocation but also my self-awareness and mental wellness. Not due to the fact I have to have to program the subsequent e-book or college advancement workshop, which are enjoyment in and of on their own, but because I advantage, in my get the job done, my everyday living, my health and fitness, from this time to align values, actions, and self.
How do you do this reflection?
Just one widespread instrument that has been repurposed for reflection is the ubiquitous SWOT assessment created in the 1960s management culture. The acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Alternatives, and Threats. Although a helpful resource in some circumstances, obtaining weak spot and threat termed out so prominently can feed into the competitors society of increased ed in approaches that can exacerbate tension, imposter syndrome, and perfectionism. Not in particular helpful outdoors of the society of tutorial capitalism, even when adapted as personalized reflection.
As an alternative of SWOT, I provide the SOAR assessment. Like SWOT, the SOAR framework is also a two-by-two grid that shares two categories: Strengths and Prospects. Fairly than concentrating then on weaknesses and threats, SOAR appears to be to Aspirations and Effects, however in my version, I favor wondering about Methods as an alternative of Effects.
When applying these types in your reflective activity, they can pair into two parts of emphasis: Strengths and Sources are about the now and the present, while Aspirations and Prospects are about the feasible, the ambitions, the wants, developing a properly-rounded reflection to create on.
Contemplate these queries when utilizing SOAR as a resource of introspection and reflection:
- Strengths – What are your finest strengths? What are issues you do conveniently that other people come across spectacular? Wherever do you excel? When are you most engaged or possible to locate a movement condition? What are the accomplishments you are most proud of?
- Prospects – What do you know or care about that you could increase on? What gaps exist the place your distinctive viewpoint may possibly include to information? What odds for fruitful partnerships may exist? What threats may be out there that could be turned into chances?
- Aspirations – What are your most significant objectives? What would achievements glance like in the long term? In what means do you want to make a variance? What are you most determined to do or know?
- Resources – What instruments, understanding, and procedures do you by now have that you can use in pursuit of your Opportunities and Aspirations? What supplemental methods can you contact on? Who could possibly be equipped to assistance you in your initiatives?
As you complete your reflective SOAR examination, consider about yourself holistically the exercise does not have to be all about get the job done and career. What are your SOARs for your everyday living, relatives, nicely-staying, services to the neighborhood?
In my next write-up, we’ll make on the follow of reflection by wondering about values, showcasing insights from my interviews with Drs. Katie Linder, Lindsay Masland, and Cait Denial on my podcast, the agile academic.
Rebecca Pope-Ruark is the director of the Business of School Professional Development at the Georgia Institute of Technological innovation in Atlanta. She is the host of the agile academic podcast for women in larger ed, and her forthcoming ebook, Unraveling College Burnout: Pathways to Reckoning and Renewal, will be unveiled by the Johns Hopkins College Push in September 2022.