Teachers are required to make thousands of decisions every day. The only thing more overwhelming that all of these decisions are the amount of records a teacher must keep. There are many things a teacher must keep track of and each of these are important for different reasons.
Attendance: A teacher must keep track of whether or not each student is in class every day school is in session. This has become easier with computerized attendance. However, the attendance is only correct if the teacher takes the time to input it correctly. Attendance is very important in school. Credit can be denied based on the number of days missed which can affect graduation for some students.
Grades: Teachers can have several hundred students in various classes during the course of the year. Each of these students will turn in various assignments that a teacher must grade and record in some sort of grading book or computerized program. A student’s graduation and choice of college is frequently based on the grades he or she achieves in high school. One mistake by a teacher can significantly impact many aspects of a student’s life.
Parents often frequently question their child’s grades. It is important that a teacher have clear records about why a child’s grade is what it is. If a student has poor grades due to poor tests scores or failure to turn in homework, a teacher needs to be able to show this through her grade book.
Behavior: Behavior records are often informal and written in teacher shorthand. They may be kept in a notebook or on index cards sorted by student. These type of informal records are important before teacher conferences and when filling out forms that are recommending a child for more intense services. It is easy to overlook or forget behaviors a child is exhibiting in a classroom when a teacher has so many things to take care of during a day. A quick note about an incident that took place in a classroom helps to jog memories. These notes also help clarify patterns in behavior that may not be recognized individually.
Parental Contact: It is important to keep track of when parents where contacted and what was discussed during each conversation. This allows a teacher to remember what was agreed to during each conversation and a source to refer back to after the conversation is over.
This is just a sample of what a teacher needs to keep records of during the course of a school day and a school year. Each teacher will have to develop a system that works for him or her.