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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Professionally Speaking: Keep Track of What You Do

School life is busy.

You're working to teach a large number of children well.

You have many lessons to plan.

You have colleagues to collaborate with, and parents to respond to.

You have papers to correct.

You have data to analyze and record.

You have research to complete in order to develop your skill, knowledge, and concept.

It's hard to recall everything you do in a year's time, and now with the need to provide evidence of your work, respond to multiple professionals, and build upon past work, it serves you well to keep a log of your efforts--a place to return to in order to recall specific events, promises made, challenges to meet, and work to complete.

I recommend an online document, website, or other kind of file for most information since you can categorize the information to make it accessible when needed.

Some of the online tools I use to keep track of this work include the following:
  • Newsletter File with all of the year's newsletters and the learning team's reference.
  • Class file with the student data lists, timelines, system-wide calendars, supply lists, and other pertinent information related to teaching my students well. This file is shared with the principal and collaborating teachers.
  • Subject websites and a class website to host timely classroom information. These websites are shared with the entire learning team: students, families, colleagues online and off, leaders, and citizens.
  • ePortfolio to host my professional work. I update this regularly and use it to gather evidence for the State's new evaluation system and to share when applying for grants or writing proposals to present. 
  • YouTube channel to host exemplar projects, films related to classroom study, and films the students and I have made to teach in the content areas.
  • Blog to track thoughts, ideas, questions, and resources. 
  • Online books to host topics that you've given lots of thought and study to.
Getting into a system of regularly updating your online files serves you well as it makes work more targeted and efficient and it's helpful when questions pertaining to your practice and philosophy arise.

As recent reports suggest, it's also important to think about the person you want all these files to present. My share in this regard continues to evolve as I learn of new platforms, study communication, and develop my practice. 

How do you keep track of what you do?  Where are your resources located? Who do you share your resources with? What is your routine of updating these documents and files?  All of these questions are important to your ongoing practice as an educator.