If you really want me to have that meaningful reflection experience, which is important, I can. Here are some things that will help.
1. Have clear expectations of what you want me to think about and the level of depth you want me to get to. If you don't tell me what the expectation is, it's not my fault if I do it wrong.
2. Put thought into the form or documents you want me to turn in and the purpose of those. If it is to push my thinking, ensure the forms are clear and align to that goal. Or just accept that it is a simple form to have documentation.
3. Have conversations about the reflection, ask questions to push team members thinking in ways a form never could.
4. Model your expectations, provide an example, or go through the process with me.
At the end of the day, adults are not that different than students. We need clear expectations, examples help, and we are going to cut corners when we can. At the same time, just like students, we appreciate a good "lesson" or PD in the teachers world. Just like how teachers prepare for lesson with an LO and DOL, administrators and teacher leaders should also understand purpose of what they are communicating to their teachers and what the end goal is. Please do not make me complete the same form three days in a row because you were unclear about your expectations. That is a waste of time and providing no benefit to the students. My PLC has basically turned into the worksheet class.
When I talk to teachers that are thinking about leaving teaching, most often they say it is because of the busy work we have to do. It gets to you. It feels never ending, a waste of time, and taking a way from what they really want to do and that is teach. Yet the paperwork becomes so much they would rather leave teaching then keep doing it. On the flip side when I talk to teachers that have stayed in the district awhile they say they have learned to just do it and move on. They learn how to put in minimal effort and not let it consume them. No matter who the Principal is or what the format of the form is, they all say its the same so with time they learn what to say and write to get it done.
So basically no teacher is actually finding value in any of this paperwork. So why do we keep doing it? Why do we keep forcing teachers to complete something that doesn't help them or their students. Can we not think of a way to change this process and make it meaningful? Is it possible to eliminate paperwork in a large district? I am not saying eliminate the process of reflection, tracking students or what ever it is we do on paper, but the format we have to do it in. Because these are important parts of the teaching cycle, but often teachers are not actually participating in the reflection or skill because they are completing a form.