Document, document, document.
Oh, and document some more.
Has anyone else felt like they are documenting more than teaching? This is part of the new territory that comes with digital learning. I do not think I am alone in saying that it has been overwhelming. As I have gotten into a routine of things I wanted to share my process for documenting that works in the building and remotely.
When documenting for any reason it is best to have some form of data that goes along with it. Anecdotal records are a great resource, but numbers can speak volumes when working on a team. Try to find a way to quantify your data before sharing.
Details are good, but too many can make it hard to read. Bullet points on a shared document or lists on Google Sheets/Excel spreadsheet can help create a nice system for getting the important details communicated. Now, if the details are important then definitely include. Just make sure it adds to the overall purpose of the documentation and does not take away from it.
I have always said that no students belongs to one teacher- when a student steps foot in a build that I work, then that child’s academic, emotional, physical, and mental well-being are the responsibility of every person there. When documenting it does no good if you are the only person who sees it. Find a system that works for your school in sharing data so that everyone can benefit from it. I have used Google Doc or Google Sheets to share with people and within my Google Drive I have created Priority Workspaces to keep all of my documentation organized. I do not know how I would be surviving working from home without these tools!
If you are documenting a situation that has happened and it includes another teacher’s name then it is best to include that teacher if possible. There may be scenarios where it is better to not include everyone involved and to allow another person to handle that conversation. If that is not the case, then give every person included in your documentation a heads up or carbon copy them to the email thread.
Right now documenting can feel like it is all you are doing. Find a process that works best for you. I have heard people who like to document everything at the end of their work day and that is how they wrap up. That does not work for me, I forget things too quickly. I currently spend the last 10 minutes of every hour documenting what I have done for the previous 50 minutes. This makes it so that I do not spend too much time just writing about my day and I do not forget any details I would want to include. Having a set time will help you never miss anything important.