Filing: The boring stuff you have to do

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
Now that you've had a few weeks in school, you should have a clear idea of the contexts in which you're working and be able to think constructively about the two areas in which you're going to succeed this year - becoming an effective teacher and meeting the induction standards. They are connected, though that might not always be apparent. Success in both areas will depend on your finding efficient ways to manage information.

The induction process is evidence-based. You have to show that not only are you continuing to meet the standards for qualified teacher status, but also that you are developing competence in areas such as planning, teaching and class management, monitoring, assessment, recording, reporting and accountability. You should set up systems for gathering and organising that evidence now in preparation for your final appraisal.

Look again at your career entry and development profile (CEDP) and be ready, in consultation with your mentor, to revise it to set a training agenda that meets your needs and takes best advantage of what the school can offer you.

Think about your professional development in terms of targets and action plans.

You may have had, or will soon be due for, a lesson observation. Suggest to your mentor that you'd like it to be relatively informal, but in the debrief identify two or three targets to be reviewed at your next, more formal observation and appraisal. That will set an agenda for you both, and you can work out an action plan to help you meet those targets.

Make sure that you have agreed a timetable for your formal appraisals.

Start collecting and filing evidence now. For example, you will need to show that you are setting targets for your pupils, and monitoring and assessing their work. At regular intervals, photocopy representative samples of pupils' work, with your assessment comments, file them chronologically and you will have, for very little extra effort, a perfect and expanding body of evidence to show that you have met that standard.

You should also be ready by now to put into place practical systems and procedures for maximising your effectiveness in the classroom.

* Use your teacher planner to record everything that you and your pupils do. Nothing impresses a parent quite so much as a teacher's ability to say exactly what their child was doing, when, and what they achieved.

* Use the planner's diary to note all coursework and examination deadlines, and share that information with pupils and parents.

* File your lesson plans and resources. If you have on your desk a set of stacking filing trays with a shelf for each group that you teach, and one for your tutorial business, it's easy to put all the paperwork connected with each lesson into the right place, ready for filing once a week.

* Routines give pupils a sense of purpose and security. If they know where their books and folders are kept, and you allocate responsibility for distributing and collecting everything at the beginnings and ends of lessons, then you are free to start your lesson without having to worry about time-wasting busy work.

* Set up procedures for counting resources in and out - textbooks, scissors, glue sticks.

Finally, take a close look at your work-life balance. If school is occupying you 247, then you'll be ill by Christmas. Make sure that your routine includes time out, and reward yourself for work well done.

Harry Dodds

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