Amid all the new things you’re learning—bell schedules and assembly procedures, as well as the names of 135 or so of your very favorite students and a batch of new computer passwords and codes, one important area you will need to become comfortable with is record keeping.
As a new teacher, you’re probably realizing all the requirements for your new position, but good record keeping will save you plenty of headaches through the year. Absences, tardies, missing assignments, grades, and communication with students’ families and guardians are just a few of the details you’ll need to record. So let’s look at some suggestions that, hopefully, will make your daily teaching duties a little easier!
Communication Log: Communication—with families and guardians, colleagues, administrators, education leaders, and community members—is so important, and in the midst of lesson plans, activities, and classroom management, it can easily get lost.
- Consider recording dates you attempted to contact (by phone or through email) parents/guardians and dates you successfully contacted parents/guardians regarding specific student concerns or successes. Make a brief note of the topic of communication and any decisions or input.
- Record dates/copies of student behavior referrals.
- Record ideas/suggestions gathered through your various communications.
- File family/guardian emails in a separate folder on your computer for easy access.
Attendance: When you’re dealing with 30 or more students, keeping track of attendance can be a daunting task! While you’ll probably have a computer program that your school uses to record students who are absent or tardy, you’ll probably want to include your own personal system, as well.
- Develop a way to organize papers and other materials that absent students will need when they return.
- Try using a folder posted on a board or in a designated spot and placing any materials in it with specific students’ names on them. If you teach multiple classes, clearly label a folder for each class.
- Keep a list of students and their missing assignments. Many grading programs will generate these for you. Consider printing out two copies—a master copy for you and then a copy of each student’s missing assignments. Hand out a list of missing assignments to each student; handing these out on Fridays can be especially helpful to give them the weekend to address their missing assignments.
Grades: Keeping up with the grading and maintaining accurate grade sheets are always a concern for teachers—new and veteran teachers alike. Here are some suggestions; also check out our list of 10 Assessment Tips in this issue.
- Keep a basket on your desk so students will know where assignments go when they’re completed.
- Try to grade papers—and empty that basket—by the end of the day on Fridays. What doesn’t get taken care of by then probably needs to go home over the weekend. Try to always start your week with an empty assignment basket for a fresh start to your week.
- If you teach more than one class, have a folder for each class where you place assignments to be returned after they’ve been assessed.
- Group assignments and enter grades by the class, if possible. As late assignments come in, mark those students’ names off the missing assignments list.
- Just to be safe…periodically, especially if it has been a busy assignment time, print off the whole-class grade sheet and file in a secure place. If technology would fail (when you least expect it), you will have a backup.