Saturday, November 8, 2008

yes! i have some advice!

i feel very confident this afternoon, as i devulge this small secret. sometimes i wonder, when writing, if any of my trials and tribulations are helping other people. but this will. we'll call this one: documentation.

background: in new york, we have external evaluators who come visit twice a year for the School Quality Review (SQR). when they enter our classrooms, we are to have our unit plan and lesson plans in a folder ready for them, and a binder with unit overviews, lessons, worksheets, student work. so that means at our department meeting this week, we were reviewing binders.

now, we did an e-portfolio at u of m, which was amazing for portability and ability to share our work, but i have to say, i am obsessed with paper documentation. i love clear plastic sleeves that go into binders and preserve my work, and my students' revisions of my ideas. they work and i realize what i could've done better. i try to improve it each time.

so, my advice to you is this: alongside your e-portfolio, save copies of your work. photocopy student work, start now! put it in a big box until you are ready to sort it. one rainy day, raid an office supply store near you for binders, clear sleeves, dividers, markers and your big box o' work. make sure you have a resume, teaching philosophy, model lessons and accomplishments you're proud of within your teaching career. bring this binder around with you to job interviews. many school districts in the country require you to keep your work, record your practice, in this way. if you can talk about it and show examples, you make an impression.

video is wonderful, but i do not have the luxury this year. however, i can control how i'm represented on paper, i know how to highlight and sell myself. having a colorful, aesthetically pleasing portfolio chock full of what i believe about teaching and how it's worked, this is better than a photo album (though my kids' photos are all over it!). it's great documentation and it's also organizing yourself for the next time you teach a unit. you'll always revise and change things, but you have a foundation to build from.

yay! my first piece of advice to new teachers! i feel weathered already. happy fall day to you.


1 comment:

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