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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Documenting

One important issue that is missing in teacher education is DOCUMENTATION. In my classroom I keep a binder. There is a pocket folder for each student in the binder. I SAVE everything--every tardy slip, every nurse's pass, copies of every behavior note/letter I send home, copies of notes from parents regarding their child. It's an easy thing to set up and maintain. About once a week or so, I slip all of the paper I have collected and put them in the appropriate pocket. It's amazing--at the end of the year there are some students who have NOTHING in their pockets while other students' pockets are bulging. You never know when the information might come in handy--with an upset parent who says, "You never told me!" or a child who is abusing going to nurse's office. It only takes a minute to make a copy. (I use the copy feature on my classroom printer or write notes on NCR paper.) But those pieces of paper can serve to back you up when the time comes. 
In some cases, I hang on to paper work for specific children for a couple of years. Quite often when the child moves up to a new grade, the parents will tell the teacher, "My child has never had that problem before.". The teacher can then show them copies of my paperwork and stop the parents in their tracks. It also allows the teacher and parent to work together to address the issues and move on!

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