Last week’s post was about our responsibilities as teachers and how we can find time within all of that to connect our work to the standards and reflect. It’s been pretty popular and thanks for taking the time to read and download the timeline for yourselves – I’m really glad it’s useful. Of course, we all recognize the importance of planning for, and establishing, our goals. This post is inspired by one of our subscribers, Katherine Zagotsis. In it, she shares how she’s planning her reflections, what inspired her and what she’s hoping to achieve.
Here’s the tweet that started this whole converstion. Shared with us moments before I posted the Teacher Timeline, Katherine showed us her planned list of focuses for this year.
— Katherine Zagotsis (@KZagotsis) January 18, 2017
First of all, you should know that last year Katherine used her Edufolios as her evidence base for moving from provisional to full registration at her local teacher registration board. Congratulations! You should also know that, like me, she’s on a bit of a mission. She’s been pretty keen to make sure that she has one piece of evidence for every single focus area. Now, she knows, as well as I, that there is actually no requirement to have each focus area covered – just each standard. But, just like you and I, she wants to show that she is able to meet all of the elements in those standards. She wants to make sure that she isn’t just focusing on the things that are easy to evidence or interest her the most. She’s using the standards as a learning pathway not a measuring stick.
What you’ll notice about her double page spread, however, is that not all standards are represented equally. Here’s why.
“I looked at my tag cloud and used that to see where my gaps are. At the time, I could see that I really needed to focus more on Standard 1 so I’ve taken four areas for that. Then I’ve got two for standards two and three and one for the rest.”
She’s using the tag cloud to inform how she plans to reflect on her practice. Remember, when you look at your tag cloud, the smaller the word, the less evidence you have against it. If there’s a missing tag, then you haven’t attributed any posts to it yet. When you’re selecting your focus areas, don’t forget that you can tag as many as you think relevant.
Once she’d defined how much time she wanted to spend on each standard, she then went looking for ideas around what to write about. One of the places she’s found some great ideas and inspirations has been the DECD Early Career teacher’s page on Facebook. She guided me to a photograph they had posted in-which a long list of suggestions was mashed up into one image. Not all of the ideas were relevant to her specialty but, they at least started the ball rolling and gave her an idea of the types of things she could reflect on. She used them as inspiration to start tailoring her own set of reflection titles and those are what now make up the lists in her planner.
Types of evidence and how to talk about them
What you’ll notice too, is that Katherine has consistently included prompts to her self to include different types of evidence. She’s planning to include photographs, sound recordings, documents, email trails, videos, observations and more. Of course, she’ll be placing that within her posts and then discussing what they show, elaborating and explaining what she’s showing. If you look closely, at the top of the right hand page, she has the acronym S.T.A.R. written down. That comes from an interview technique used to help you show your competency against specific criteria. In this context, it’s a great way of remembering how to focus on what your evidence shows. We’ll talk more about that and C.A.R.E. (which takes this one step further) in another post. In the meantime though, you might like to use the following structure for some of your posts and see how you go! S.T.A.R stands for:
- Situation – explain (briefly) where you were, both physically and chronologically (i.e. during week 1 of Term 2 with my Year 9 class…)
- Task – what you set out to achieve; what you were you hoping to achieve. (think purpose and objective)
- Action – the “meat” of your answer. Describe your specific actions. How did you achieve – or contribute to – the outcome. Think how/why/what but always relate the answer to YOUR input.
- Result – what was the outcome?
Adapted from Warwick University’s Careers Blog
Managing the List
Katherine told me that she’s planning to highlight items from her list as she completes them. She’s already done a few! I pointed out that, she might want to schedule a time to re-read her posts and write again to show any progress she has made with a particular student or in a particular area of practice. What Katherine has done here is create a wish list of things to talk about. There’s no timeline attached to it, no pressure to post x times a week and that’s good! This isn’t supposed to be another ‘job’ to do. I love how she’s enjoying her practice and using her Edufolios as a place to delve more deeply into what she’s up to. She’s not all that interested in jumping through career stage or accreditation hoops. She’s more interested in setting herself challenging learning goals. That’s awesome!
Thanks Katherine for sharing your time to explore your plans with us!