Protecting Time for Observations

Protecting Time for Observations

Every administrator wants to spend more time in classrooms as it is the most fulfilling part of their job, allowing us to witness the wonderful things that teachers and students are accomplishing in their school. Despite this, classroom observations and walkthroughs often seem to be put on hold. The reason for this is that there are numerous matters that require immediate attention, such as student emergencies, parent complaints, impromptu meetings with supervisors, teacher absences that leave students unsupervised… These distractions can interfere with any administrator’s ability to conduct classroom observations. However, over the past three years, I have implemented strategies to safeguard my time for classroom observations as much as possible.

Purposeful Scheduling

In an attempt to streamline my observations my first year, I designated two hours every Thursday morning as my observation time. I quickly found that this was impractical due to teachers being on prep or having multiple courses during that time. Since then, I have shifted my strategy to a monthly schedule.

My monthly approach follows this outline; at the beginning of the school year I look at the master schedule and create Google Calendar events for all classroom observations for the following month. This allows people to know when I am unavailable for meetings as well as helping me being purposeful about what courses I am seeing. In addition to the calendar events, I also document on a Google Sheet the date and type of course. Throughout the month if something keeps me from attending a specific observation, I highlight the missed observation in red and add a comment as to why I missed the observation. At the end of the month I sit down to schedule the following months observations as well as analyze why I missed observations. This has been a great way to track what type of interruptions I have so that I can determine a plan for how to handle them in the future.

Evaluating Interruption

Interruptions throughout the day are inevitable, administrators have to come up with a way to determine if the interruption should derail the purposefully planned day or not. During my reflections each month I started to group interruptions into 3 categories.

  • Emergency – these are the interruptions that I cannot avoid even with the best planning. I would ask all staff members to interrupt my schedule so that I can address these situation immediately. The main reason for an emergency is a safety concern.
  • Inform– these situations may result in an interruption or they may not, but I need to make that decision. I have asked to receive a text with the basic information so I can decide if this is an interruption or give advice on how to proceed.
  • Document– the last type of interruptions that I discovered are those that did not need to be an interruption at all. I call these “document” situations because I ask for a follow up email. This helps me if the topic comes back around to know how it was handled in the first place.

Once I was able to evaluate my interruptions I had significantly less interruptions during my classroom observations. This is essential work when prioritizing classroom observations.

A Work in Progress

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for protecting time for observations. There are several factors such as the size of your school, the number of administrators, the type of responsibilities you have outside of teacher evaluations… What is important is that you make a plan, reflect on it frequently, and adjust until you find a system that works for you.

Reflections After the Hardest Year

Reflections After the Hardest Year


Do you feel like this year has been your toughest year in education? If you do, then you are not alone. I have too many days to count this year wondering what has made this year even harder than the last.

As this school year is quickly coming to an end, I have been reflecting on my career, the educational system as a whole, and where children are academically, socially, and emotionally. Each of these components to my work weigh heavily on my heart. In my role as an Assistant Principal, I make decisions that will drive my career forward as a life long learner, make decisions that have the potential to impact thousands of students, and have interactions with dozens of students a week where I see where they are in all areas of learning and growing as young adults. Some days, the job can feel overwhelming due to our current climate, so here are my takeaways as I begin planning for the next school year.

Passion Drives Progress

I recently spoke with a fellow educator and he asked me what is something about me that he would not find on a piece of paper? I thought about this for a minute, all of my accomplishments or ideas you can easily find on documents that I have worked on in the last 10 years. What I decided to share was my passion for education. It is hard to put into words when you are truly passionate about something. When that passion is what you think about first thing in the morning, gets you through the tough days, and occasionally keeps you up at night thinking about how you can do better.

This is how I feel about education. It is my driving passion. I obviously love my children and my husband and they are also a huge reason I do what I do. But outside of my family, what personally motivates me is my passion for education. This includes wanting to find the best ways to nurture the developing minds of children, creating a positive and healthy work environment, and brining in innovative ways to further teaching in the 21st century. I spend my days reading and day dreaming about what more can we do for education in America. Although some days I feel discouraged, more often than not, I feel inspired and ready to face another day.

Trusting Work Places

My husband started his first year in education and I have to be honest, there have been many nights that I have had a smug look on my face when he comes home utterly exhausted and has nothing else to give for that day. I may have said a time or two “Glad you know what I have been talking about for the last 10 years… teaching is exhausting!” We always say that when you come to work you have to leave your baggage at the door and be ready with a smile on your face for your students and coworkers.

This is very emotionally and physically draining and that it is essential that you have a trusting work place, one that has coworkers who are there for you when you are having a rough day to help lift you up. A trusting place that when you need a minute to talk through the hard things, that you can leave knowing you have spoken in confidence. A trusting place that you know that the people around you are there to support you and help you grow as an educator.

There are plenty of negative comments circulating in the news and on social media about teachers and education. Education is under a microscope right now — what books are in the library, what standards are being taught, what curriculum is being used, what is the districts stand on these hot topics… I am hopeful that things will be easier next year, but this job is hard enough. We must support one another and create a safe and trusting environment so that educators have the mental and physical energy to give students their absolute best.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

I knew Maslow was on to something with his hierarchy of needs, but it has become abundantly clear in the last two years that without basic needs, safety, and belonging being met for not only students but teachers, then personal growth and learning cannot take place. Teacher burnout and student discipline are both at an all time high, instead of putting more on teachers and students plates, we need to start with the basics.

What I have seen these past two years is that schools had to pivot within the matter of days from in person teaching to remote teaching. This was unavoidable and a part of being in a global pandemic. What schools would have implemented slowly over the course of years was implemented in days. Since then, we have been adding more and more to teachers with blended learning and constantly changing policies and procedures.

I keep hearing “we have to go back to how things were before COVID” but this is just not a realistic statement. The pandemic changed how we do education, so instead of trying to go back we need to start with the basics in this new style of education— are basic needs being met, are there structures in place that ensure safety and security for all, and does everyone have a sense of belonging and know their role and how to perform it on a day to day basis? Once we can answer those questions, then we can move forward with growth and learning.

Change Takes Time

Ultimately, things are changing in education. Some for the better and some for the worst. I have heard podcast and read blogs saying that education in America is going to have to crash and burn before it gets better. I really hope that is not the case, because there is an entire generation that may not be able to recover if that happens, including my children. Give the process time and continue to push for what is best for students. You can never go wrong if you view your work through the lens of “Is this best for my students?”

Dear First Year Educators

Dear First Year Educators

This past week I had a conversation with a first year teacher and one of his questions was how to know when you are doing too much. This really struck home for me because I am currently in my second year as a school administrator and my husband is in his first year as a middle school ELA teacher. We have struggled to find a work/home life balance.

Here is what I have learned in my nine years in education, you cannot do everything. This is one of the hardest things to realize as an educator, because people get into this profession because they care about children, their content, and doing their best. Acknowledging that something you feel would benefit your students and yet you are not going to do it, it extremely difficult.

So how do you decide when to say no to something? The best answer I can give came from my training with Tina Boogren on Motiving and Inspiring Students. Tina shared that the first thing we must look at in education whether it is as a teacher in a classroom, an administrator in a building, or a superintendent for a school district is Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Basic Needs

According to Maslow’s pyramid we will see that the bottom two levels make up the basic needs- physiological (food, water, shelter, rest…) and safety (security). When sharing this with my first year teacher I said that without those basic needs being met no student can learn. These needs are ones that you cannot say you will deal with later. These are the ones that you address first.

Physiology needs are ones that we should not put on teachers to meet, but we ask teachers to know their students well enough that if those basic needs are not being met then let someone know. Safety needs in the classroom are more than just asking if the room is physically safe (which is still extremely important) but are their procedures in place so the students knows what is expected of them when they come into the room? That security of knowing what to do in the classroom is essential and again, is not something that can be put off. You must establish your procedures, even if you end up tweaking them over time.

I always tell first year teachers that year one is the hardest and it will get better. So naturally, my teacher I visited with was worried because he is adding two new art classes next year and he was not sure how he will manage. The beauty of physiology and safety needs your “have to” for work, is those don’t change every year. You determine what works for you and get better and better each year at implementing them no matter what course you are teaching.

Growth Needs

Now, if we look at the next three tiers on the pyramid we see belonging (relationships, friends, connection), esteem (status, recognition, strength), and self-actualization (achieving full potential), this is where growth takes place. But remember, we cannot have growth without the first two needs being met. These three tiers will change each year as you have different students and how you meet their needs of belonging, esteem, and self-actualization will change, but once you have a firm grasp of implementing physiology and safety needs it will not feel so overwhelming.

So What Can You Do?

A great activity to determine how much time you are spending on each need is to track your time for a whole week and label each activity with which need is being met. The basic needs cannot be put off and must be addressed. These are the needs that no matter the class you are teaching once you have established what works for you then you can replicate with minor tweaks. Basic needs are also things that you can ask for support. If you are spending a lot of time addressing physiological needs then ask a counselor or administrator for help with these issues. If you are spending a lot of time on safety needs then visit with a veteran teacher to get tips and tricks that work well in the classroom. You do not have to find someone who teaches the same content as you, good classroom management looks similar throughout the school.

Once you have learned how to meet the basic needs of your students then creating a sense of belonging should be your focus and priority. Each year this will look different as your students and their needs will be unique, but a sense of belonging should always be a priority. While in your first year in education, it can be a challenge to learn how to make all students belong and establishing authentic connections in the classroom. Do not hesitate to visit with other teachers on how they build relationships and create an inclusive classroom environment.

So, in your first year of education if you put a focus on physiological, safety, and belonging needs of your students then you will be doing a great job. You will figure out what works for you and what works in your classroom. Year two you will get even better and year three even better than that. During this time is when you start to devote more of your time looking at esteem and self-actualization needs in your students.

Just remember, it is a lot and no one expects you to be an expert during your first year. Honestly, no one expects you to know everything at any point in your career. If you ever feel that you have learned everything there is to learn, then you have a fixed mindset which is not a good thing (I will save that for another post). Prioritize the have to haves your first year in the profession and know that the work you are doing will carry over for the rest of your career and that people are always here to help.

Educator’s Lifesaving Tip 5: Collaboration

Educator’s Lifesaving Tip 5: Collaboration

As we all navigate the beginning of the 2020 school year, the ability to collaborate is more important now than ever before. This is not only collaboration amongst our content teams, but collaboration across the country as a whole.

Biggest Picture

Three years ago I learned the power of Twitter. I grew my personal learning network from my individual school district to nationwide over night. I began to learn about the twitter chats that take place weekly and teachers across the globe can participate. These chats helped challenge my thinking and grow as an educator to be inclusive of all students backgrounds. I would recommend anyone who is new to education or looking to expand their learning to check out twitter. Here are three of my favorites-

  • #leadupchat Saturdays at 8:00am CST
  • #edchat Tuesdays at 6:00pm CST
  • #EduAR Thursdays at 8:30pm CST

Along with Twitter I use Voxer on my iPhone as a way to communicate and connect with people everywhere. It is a great app that allows you to leave short voice messages as well as written messaging.

Narrowing the Scope

Collecting all sorts of resources across the nation is only a piece of the puzzle. The next step is to collaborate within your region to find partnerships and help all students and families be successful. This aspect is looking outside of the schools and working with businesses to build up partnerships to support student learning.

Right now everyone is struggling with what is to come next. When we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs the base/foundation is the need for stability in the necessity’s; air, food, water, shelter, and clothing. This is not a time to be competitive with one another with test scores. This is a time to come together and determine how best to meet these needs for every single student. Everything else will follow.

Reach out to other school districts in the area and collaborate with one another. We are all in this together to help find solutions to better our nation.

Vertical Alignment

Within our specific districts we need to look outside of our own content area and look for where students are coming and where they are going. This is vertical alignment. In my previous career I was an Algebra 1 teacher. In my role, I needed to know what prior knowledge they had so I could better meet their needs. I also needed to know where students were going so I could prepare them to be successful in their future classes.

It can be difficult to find time– especially if your vertical alignment is in other buildings. But as we have learned this past year, we don’t have to be in the same location to learn from one another. Set aside time to meet with different grade/content levels to learn from one another. Student needs will change every year, therefore, we must make this a regular practice within our schools each year.

Personal Learning Communities

In the state of Arkansas, there is a huge push for all schools to implement PLCs. I have shared before what a PLC is so I will not go into details on that right now. What I will share is that PLC have always been essential for student success, but now it is even more imperative than ever for all parts of education.

Teachers are being asked to do more and more every day; teaching students face to face, remotely, and virtually. Teachers must be given the time to meet with content level teams to answer the 4 questions of a PLC to make sure students are continuing to learn at high levels. With students being literally all over the place physically and academically these questions can help guide learning and ensure students meet the essential learning standards for each subject.

No matter where your district is on the PLC journey, every teacher can still make the decision to get started. Reach out on Twitter or neighboring school districts to see how to get started. We must make collaboration a priority for all stakeholders.

Classroom Observations: How to Make Them Worth Your Time

Classroom Observations: How to Make Them Worth Your Time

Lead learner, instructional leader, growth mindset–these are all words that should describe the administration team at any school. It is the job of administrators to help teachers grow in their role. The best way to do this is to actually be present in the classrooms through observations.

I want to pause a minute and reflect on my previous sentence, “actually be present in the classrooms”. Anyone who has been in a position of school leadership knows that a well-planned day can get upended within seconds of walking in the door. This is why it is so important to plan a protected time that, no matter what, you are able to get into classrooms. I will save how to structure your protected time in another blog, but now back to classroom observations! The purpose of this post is to provide a concise list to help remind administrators of best practices for classroom observations. I will provide links to additional posts that offer an in-depth look at these specific practices as they are written.

What is a good classroom observation?

There are a few key components for good classroom observations.

  • Being Present
  • Being Engaged
  • Looking for Specific Strategies
  • Knowing Teachers’ Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Purposeful, Specific, and Timely Feedback

Being Present

Administrators are busy. We have several things on our mind, and we are trying to figure out how to get them all finished by our deadlines.

But when it comes time to do a classroom observation, that observation must be the only thing on our mind. Be present in the moment, and give your teacher and students your full attention. As instructional leaders, we have a crucial role in promoting student learning, and effective observations and feedback are key components of achieving this goal.

I have started leaving my laptop in my office and going to my observations with a notebook and pen. If I am doing a formal observation, then this approach is not practical, but I have found that removing the temptation of checking emails, finishing up other work, or getting an idea while in a classroom and starting on a new task, I am able to present and notice the small details that build the culture of learning in each classroom.

Being Engaged

Not only should you be present in the moment of an observation, you must also fully engage with the classroom experience. Teachers spend a significant amount of time on all of the aspects of their lesson. Engage with each part and be ready to ask clarifying questions or give praise on specific components of the classroom environment.

This is a time to be critical. Try to decipher why the teacher has chosen the pacing of the lesson, why students are grouped in a certain way, or how each part of the lesson ties back to the essential learning targets of the unit. If you are not able to answer these questions, then they are great starting points to discuss with your teacher.

Looking for Specific Strategies

According to Dr. Jay Dostal in his book Value Added Feedback, administrators need to look for themes that can lead to teacher reflection. Look for themes and specific strategies in the classroom that can contribute to a deep and reflective conversation. This is when true growth on the teachers part takes place. If you are unable to identify specific strategies, then as an instructional leader, you must provide suggestions that may have worked well in the lesson and be ready to share resources. One of the most discouraging things an administrator can do is give feedback (“Why don’t you add more structured student talks in your classroom?”) without providing the tools or resources to support the teacher in implementing these strategies in the classroom.

Knowing Your Teacher’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Each year educators are asked to write Professional Growth Plans or PGPs. These plans can be viewed in one of two ways: checking off a box that the state or district is requiring or a time to reflect with your teacher. When reflecting we should ask teachers to identify what strengths they currently have and should continue to build upon and what weaknesses they need to improve on.

During observations look for the areas that you can provide guidance in as well as the skills the teacher already has. The best professional development I have attended are ones where I am learning from fellow educators. By knowing your teacher’s strengths and weaknesses you can continue to build your teacher up by showing off their strengths as well as providing support and resources for growth areas.

Purposeful, Specific, and Timely Feedback

Have you ever noticed that educators can be the worst students? Think about faculty meetings or conferences; how many teachers are on their phones or talking with their buddy while the presenter is speaking? In the same way, we ask teachers to provide their students with purposeful, specific, and timely feedback on assessments, so should administrators when doing classroom observations.

If I have my laptop with me, I will go ahead and type up my email to the teacher with their glow and grow as well as any questions I may have before I leave the classroom. If I have a notebook and pen, I make sure that before I head home for the day that I have sent teachers an email thanking them for their time and sharing my observations.

Failure- It’s a Good Thing?

Failure- It’s a Good Thing?

I recently reflected and blogged on my first few weeks as an administrator and one of my key points was the fact that I will make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, but each person has the choice to let the mistake/failure define who they are or to learn and grow from the experience.

I had the opportunity to participate in a breakout session at the AAEA summer conference and Dr. Gotcher asked the audience to share what failure meant to them. One person shared “Failure is only the next opportunity to succeed.”

This really hit home for me. As we go through this school year, trying to navigate COVID-19, I know there will be moments of failure. I want to choose to view each of those moments as just creating opportunities for success.

Now, saying that you will take your failures and turn them into opportunities is easier said that done. At least that is my personal experience. For this school year I am going to do these follow steps to try and make failures opportunities for success.


Going at this career alone is never a good idea. Find your person that you can process through hard times and help keep perspective on the bigger picture.

Student Focused Vision

When you experience a failure, determine if what you were trying to do would be best for students. If it failed because it ultimately wasn’t what was best for students then walk away. If you still believe it is what is best for students then keep trying and reach out to those around you that can support your vision. As long as we keep our focus on what is best for students we can always turn opportunities into success.


I have to be willing to give myself grace. I have heard over and over the phrase “Grace before Grades”, but I think we can just say “Grace first”. Everyone will be going through a challenging time whether it is a student juggling school, with remote learning with siblings, while working a full time job to support their family; or parents who are staying up late at night after working all day to try and help their students with homework because their child is having a hard time adjusting to school again; or teachers who are so excited to see and love on their students but are also scared about their health and the health of their families. Grace must come into play for all parts of education this year.

I believe if I filter all of my experiences and reflections through these three steps then I will be able to take my failures and turn them into successes.

First Days on the Job

First Days on the Job

On May 14, 2020, I was hired by the school board of Siloam Springs School District as the new Assistant Principal at the high school. This is a dream job with one of the best administration teams I have had the privilege of knowing.

On July 13, 2020, I started my first official day in my new role. It has been a rollercoaster with many highs and lows in the past three weeks. We are put in impossible situations and have to choose what is best for students and staff- sometimes those do not line up and it makes our job even more challenging.

Over the past three works I have learned so much and wanted to get my thoughts down on paper (blog) to reflect back in years to come.

I am not trying to win a popularity contest.

A few days ago I made the comment, “I don’t think that teacher is going to like me much, but what I am suggesting is best for the students.” My mentor looked at me and said “Brittany, you are not trying to win a popularity contest. You got this job because we trust you and know you will do what is best for students.”

I have to be adaptable.

I also made the comment that I feel like I will be a first year administrator all over again next year when **hopefully** COVID-19 is gone or at least more manageable. The vice principal kindly chuckled and said “It will be something else, that is the job. There will always be something that you are dealing with, you just have to be able to roll with it.”

I will make mistakes.

I made a phone call today, no big deal, just a quick chat. I went and told my boss about it and he said “I would have said that this way… but you already talked to him.” My heart sunk. I felt like I had failed miserably and I was only 14 days into the job. I played it off like no big deal but I have been thinking about it all day. I am writing this hoping I can actually take it to heart- I will make mistakes, and THAT IS OKAY. I have to own them, accept them, learn from them, and move forward.

I need to listen and ask questions.

Clearly these are unprecedented times, so not only am I learning, but so is everyone else. No one has the perfect solution for how to open schools right now. It is times like these that we all need to be able to truly listen to concerns, seek out ideas, and ask questions that get everyone heading in a positive direction.

I know I will learn much more as the years go on, after all, we are all life long learners; but for now I am going to look forward to this next journey and celebrate the start to a new school year.

Three Promises I Make to My Children

Three Promises I Make to My Children

Parenting is tough, like really tough. I had no idea what I was signing up for 12 years ago when my son came into this world. I have made more mistakes than I care to share, but I have also experienced more joy than I thought possible. As time has gone on, I have been able to define my personal goals as a parent.

I tell my children regularly that their are three things that I must do. Every decision that I make can be traced back to these three jobs or promises that I have made to them.

As I look at my role as an educator I can apply these same promises to my students no matter the capacity to which I serve them.

For the sake of clarification- throughout the rest of this blog when I say “my children” or “children” I mean both my biological and students at school.

1. My promise to LOVE and show you love.

Keep in mind, these three promises are in no particular order, they are all equally important.

This first promise is to make sure my children grow up to know what love is, feeling loved, and learn how to appropriately love others.

Choose Love is a popular Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum that is being used around the country. The title says it all, choose love. I want to model this with my children that in all situations you have a choice and I hope they choose love. There will be times when we mess up and that is okay. It does not mean you are a bad person, but you need to own it, learn from it, and do better by choosing love the next time.

2. My promise to PROTECT you.

My daughter is a little dare devil. Throughout her life I cannot tell you how many times I have told her she cannot do something. The conversations goes like this;

“Why not mom? I want to.”

“I know you want to, but you cannot. It’s not safe because…”

As children get older the conversations will change from “you can’t run with scissors, its not safe” to “let’s talk about why you should not vape and how dangerous it is for you.”

Protecting children in a school setting can look different. It can be protecting students physically, such as having crisis plans in place to ensure the safety of all students. But protecting a child is no only from physical harm, but emotional, social, and mental harm as well. Just a few examples are cyber bullying, dealing with struggles of life in and outside of school, and equipping students with the skills needed to survive and thrive after school.

Letting children learn from mistakes is a part of growing up; therefore, make sure you can clearly identify what you are protecting them from and why this is not a good learning opportunity. If you cannot identify those, then you may actually be keeping a child from growing.

Continually reflect.

3. My promise to TEACH you how to be a GOOD HUMAN.

My husband and I say this often to our children- just be a good human. Be kind, be accepting, be generous, be selfless… the list go on.

If you notice, none of those attributes are political. I do not have to impose my beliefs on children to communicate how to be good. If anyone disagrees and thinks that being a good human needs to be addressed cautiously in the classroom, please feel free to write to me so we can start a dialogue.

Every day when I leave for work I tell my children at home “be a good human today.” I have said the same thing to my children at school as well. I hope when children see me they are able learn from my example of what it means to be a good human.

I also recognize that leading by example is not enough. The promise is not “to SHOW you how to be a good human.” It is to “TEACH how to be a good human.” Teaching how to be a good human must be intertwined with the daily learning at school.

Imagine an entire school where every person lived by that phrase- be a good human.

Yes, people make mistakes, but that is the beauty of school. Children get to learn and have loving adults in their lives to help guide them.

One of these promises alone will not do. I have to live by all three when I am parenting at home and as educator at school. If one fails, the overall well-being of the child is at risk.

The Power of a Positive Phone Call

The Power of a Positive Phone Call

March 16, 2020 is a day that I will always remember in my educational career. This day would be the first day of remote learning across the state of Arkansas which would last the entire 4th quarter. 9 weeks later, I am wrapping up the school year and taking a minute to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As I try to identify the positives that I will carry with me one comes to mind first; the power of a positive phone call. As an educator I have had to make my fair share of phone calls, but I have not always made the time to start each year with a positive one for every student.

During this global pandemic I decided that I would not contact a single one of my ESL families about school work until I had a chance to just visit with them and see how they were doing. I wanted them to know I was here first and foremost for the well-being of their child. We could worry about academics after I knew the child was doing well. I have never had such positive reaction and strong parental involvement as I have had this quarter.

Now, I understand that parents had to be involved as their child was now doing school from home, but these phone calls really set the tone for the last 9 weeks. Each family understood I was there to come alongside them to help and not to just let them know all the areas they were lacking.

After this year I will make it a priority to always make that positive contact first. I recently accepted a job as an assistant principal and I believe I can continue this in my new role and hopefully encourage my team to join me in this quest!

Check out this graphic on tips for making positive phone calls.

Educator’s Lifesaving Tip 4: Documenting

Educator’s Lifesaving Tip 4: Documenting


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. 


people creative and brainstorm idea for business

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.