One thing I have found to be extremely important as a teacher is that you must stay organized, and document, document, document!!! You never know when you are going to be asked how often you have worked with a kid on a particular subject, contacted a parent, when you sent a specific assignment, etc.
One thing I have done year after year is keep track of my parent communication and discipline referrals in an Excel document on separate pages of the workbook. I can refer to my previous contacts at a moment’s notice, sort my contacts, and share it with my principal instantly. Not to mention, I save paper and trees!
I do not have to worry about losing a folder with parent contact, or writing things down, I just type it in as I’m talking to my parent over the phone or quickly document that I attempted to call or send out mail to them. I can easily produce multiple copies, keep a backup file for myself, whatever I need.
Notice I have a column for the student name, parent name, date, method of contact, and reason for the contact. I also created a column for the purpose of notes, to document how the interaction went with the parent–which can be very important!
On a separate worksheet but within the same file, I keep track of the referrals I write throughout the year.
I maintain a column for the student name, ID number, date, Assistant Principal, and the reason behind the referral. If one really wanted to keep track, they could add hyperlinks in to the saved emails or written referrals for future reference. This makes it easy to keep track of how many referrals you have written for the student, what exactly have they done throughout the year to earn referrals, and also allows you to keep track of the outcome of the referral.
I also keep track of the assignments I have sent to students in In-School suspension. Part of this is because when I first started teaching where I do now, we still did assignments on paper, and the department was not really open to keeping record of these assignments electronically. What resulted was the loss in a lot of assignments. Students would say they never got the assignment, principals would go back to teachers saying they never got the assignment, and things were just getting lost. I began tracking mine in Excel to be sure and have a record of what I sent and when I sent it just in case I ever needed it.
Of course, this does not have to be done on Excel, Google Docs is also a great place to host a worksheet such as this, because it can also be accessed from a tablet, mobile phone, anything with Internet access.
So, instead of purchasing another notebook and keeping up with more paper, create a free digital file that’s easily maintainable! Give it a shot!