Monday, September 16, 2013

Preserving Artifacts Isn't Just for Archaeologists... or Administrators

Well Education Universe, I have some news for you-

Charlotte Danielson and her four domains are going to invade your school if they haven't already.  If you are like me, an Illinois educator, you know that soon enough our evaluation will be tied to four domains:  Planning and Preparation, Classroom Environment, Instruction, and Professional Responsibilities.

Most schools require a combination of walkthroughs and formal observations to p determine an overall rating.  The information from these encounters is presented in the form of "artifacts" or "evidence."  Administrators are trained to collect this evidence, and while most teachers are not, we still need to do it.

This is where Google can come to the rescue.

With a few short clicks, you can set up a Google Doc form to help you.  I have done so already.  Setting up some sort of "artifact collection system" is a good idea because it allows you to store your own evidence of your quality teaching and professional experiences.  Nothing is worse than being caught with your pants down come your end-of-the-year evaluation.  While it should not be perceived that you are "going to war" during your end-of-the-year meeting, you do want to go prepared.

Administrators are busy.  They can't possibly see all of the good things your are doing in your classroom.  They may see some, or see you on a day you could wish you had back.  But if you are keeping your own evidence and collecting your own artifacts, you can showcase yourself to the best of your ability.

It's one of those things where you say to yourself that you will do later on... but we know we get busy.  Do it as you go.  You'll be amazed at what you are finding.  Just like we can't possibly show administrators everything we want to, we can't possibly just remember everything we do in the year.

Many pieces of evidence aren't planned.  That talk you have with an upset student, the spur of the moment lesson deviation, and the parent conversation you just happen to have in passing as you went to the office can also be pieces of evidence.  You won't remember those next week, let alone in May.

So do yourself a favor, and keep track of how good you are at what you do.  Your students will be the ones who benefit from you being a more mindful professional.

Take Care,

Mr. J.

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