Organizing professional stuff can be a snap. These five ideas, ranging from low- to high-tech, will help you store your teaching artifacts. Whether you use file folders, binders, Google Docs, slideshow, or website, everything needed for your teacher evaluation will be right at your fingertips.
Ms. Sneed Learns About Organizing Professional Stuff
Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, was finally getting the hang of things. “Finally,” she sighed to Mrs. Brown.
“Not so fast,” replied her mentor. “Unfortunately, we need to cover one more thing.”
Ms. Sneed rolled her eyes. “What next?”
“Accountability,” said Mrs. Brown. “Pretty soon, the principal will pop in for your first evaluation. Not only that, but you also need to start collecting evidence.”
“Evidence? What kind of evidence?” Ms. Sneed collapsed on the table.
Organizing Professional Stuff in File Folders
“Let’s start with professional development. To keep track of it, just staple a piece of paper inside a file folder. My mentor explained this during my first week of teaching. It was good advice then, and it’s good advice now. This low-tech method is handy and effective. Just record the date and nature of PD, and throw any related literature into the folder.
“You will keep this folder for your entire career. If you ever need to apply for a new job or grad school or a fellowship or whatever, all of the evidence will be right here.”
Mrs. Brown pulled out a few more files. “Additional folders can be used for evidence of professionalism and/or leadership. You will show these to the principal each year at evaluation time. That way, he can make an informed decision.
“Let’s take a look at some specific categories:
- Contributing to the School – Record evidence of committee work and time you spend working on all-school events.
- Collaborating with Peers – Make note of team meetings and collaborative projects.
- Advocating for Student Success – Keep track of times when you make special effort to help a child succeed.
- Communicating with Parents – Indicate ways you reach out to parents. Store samples.”
Organizing Professional Stuff in Binders
Mrs. Brown pulled out a big notebook. “If you love binders, this is a great way to go. You can jazz it up with a colorful cover and add actual artifacts in plastic sleeves. Organize the binder according to the categories assessed in your teacher evaluation, and you’re ready to go!”
Organizing Professional Stuff with Google Docs
Mrs. Brown put the binder back in her bag and moved over to the computer. “This year, I’m creating Google Docs to organize evidence for my teacher evaluation. I’ll share each Doc with my evaluator. As I add to a Doc, my evaluator will be able to see the changes immediately.
The video below shares the basics of creating a Google Doc. You can link anything with a url this way: websites, other Google Docs, etc.”
“Hey, that might be handy,” said Ms. Sneed. “The following year, you could just update the files.”
Mrs. Brown winked and smiled. “Now you’re thinking!”
She clicked on another link. “What if your document has no url? Simple! Just create a Google Site. A url will be generated for each document you link,” she said.
Organizing Professional Stuff in a Slideshow
“If you’re into visuals, you can create a slideshow,” continued Mrs. Brown. They’re great for presenting evidence in person. Just create a PowerPoint or Google presentation and insert images of your evidence.”
Organizing Professional Stuff in a Website
Mrs. Brown clicked to open a website. “You can do the same thing with a website,” she said. “To include documents, pictures, and text, create a website. First, create a Google Site as shown in Saving Professional Artifacts Digitally, Part 2, above. Add text and insert pictures. Link related files below.
“So, there you have it. Five ways to organize your professional stuff. Just choose your format and get started! Seriously, I find it sort of fun. When I look back and see all that I’ve done, a sense of pride bubbles up inside me.”
Ms. Sneed smiled weakly. More work. But it would feel good to document her accomplishments.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.