Keeping a Teacher’s Daily Diary
There is an obvious reason why having a teacher’s daily diary is not very common among educators. Even if you are an excellent note-taker, having to fill out a whole diary for your day job sounds daunting.
But if you use a couple of tricks, you will be able to reap all of the benefits of having a teacher’s diary without needing to spend hours of your free time.
Three of the biggest benefits of having a teacher’s daily diary are:
- Better Classroom Awareness
- Better Goal Assertion
- Increased Teaching Skills
Additionally, there is a huge benefit of sharing and comparing teacher’s diaries between your fellow teachers, and even with parents. With clear information about every student’s daily behavior and achievements, this can be a great way for you and your class to grow.
What Is a Teacher’s Daily Diary?
Most people are familiar with personal diaries and some of us have even filled those out when we were younger. But a teacher’s diary is different as it falls into the category of business diaries.
Your emotions and views can still be expressed, but the point is to speak about what is happening on your job and how it can be improved, and not how it influences you personally.
Because of this difference, a work diary doesn’t need to be written in an emotional or artistic tone. Rather, it is there to transfer as much information as possible in as little words as possible.
Also, it is much better to make such a diary digitally and benefit from the copy/paste function than to write one by hand. This is diametric to a personal journal.
General Benefits of Journaling
There are two general benefits of having a journal. Primarily, there is the option for revision of what you have thought about or experienced in the past. Secondly, there is the possibility to express what you think at the moment and make it productive.
Having a teacher's daily diary is similar in both those ways, except it is not about your existence as a human but only your work as a teacher.
And while expressing emotions is not the goal, the fact that you will have a place to write everything you want to say can become a vent and reduce the stress of the daily grind.
Benefits to Teachers
While it is easy to cite how leading a journal every day will help you in your teaching, it is beneficial to know how these changes will present themselves. This should assist you in pushing forward and adapting your style when needed.
Depending on the size of your class, your experience as a teacher, or your current abilities, you might see some benefits before the others. At some point, all of these benefits will be apparent.
Better Classroom Awareness
Modern classrooms have a lot of students. In many schools, a teacher will need to deal with several classes that might hold up to 30 students, and that excludes lectures where numbers can be in the hundreds.
Because of the sheer scope of every teacher's work, it is very hard to form founded opinions and relationships with your students. And by the time they come into your scope again, you may have already forgotten what they used to be like in the past.
With the teacher's daily diary, you will be able to find all of the notes made about every student.
But, there is more. Empty spaces are just as important as filled ones, and you will know exactly who hasn't been active in your classes at all. Maybe they are shy, maybe they don't get the curriculum, but you need to find out.
Better Goal Assertion
When you know where you came from it is easier to reach where you are going. If there isn't a country song with this theme, there should be.
By being able to see how things are going, it is much easier to both assert and re-assess your goals as a teacher. Some lectures and projects might be done faster, while others need to be repeated.
If you can see which students are excelling you can connect them with those struggling and kill multiple birds with the same stone again and again.
Improving Teaching Skills
Because of your increased awareness and better organization, you will be able to concentrate your time and energy as a teacher to where it is most effective. Also, you will know if you are lacking in some aspect and will be able to look for specific ways to improve.
Over time, this practice will both intuitively and consciously push you to improve your skills as a teacher. And, as most things are, it is a self-feeding loop as the better you are the more you will want to improve.
[caption id="attachment_529" align="aligncenter" width="973"] German class diary/ klassenbuch[/caption]
How to Keep a Teacher’s Daily Diary
The worst thing you can do in making a teacher's daily diary is to buy a notebook and start from the beginning. This will take too much time and tend to become a personal diary.
Rather, you should use three easy tricks to make everything a system that will do 90% of the chores itself. By going digital, you will only need to fill out the important parts and leave the repetition to the computer.
Even in schools that don’t use a Class Diary (German: Klassenbuch), you will have most of the information long before you ever start your first class.
#1 Form a Template
A teacher’s daily diary is a table more than an open space. You will need to cross all of the students, from all of the classes, with the subject being thought and how they managed it.
Usually you will want a list of the students on the left, best in alphabetical order, with the top right corner reserved for the subject. All of the activities should be cited on the top.
This setup will give you a clear way to fill out everything quickly and know exactly when and where it happened, as well as to which student.
Finally, leave a bit of blank space at the bottom for any remarks about the whole class, or any ideas you may have at that moment. This is also your place to vent a bit.
#2 Make an introduction
It is good to make an introduction with a few notes for yourself. If the class you will be teaching is familiar to you, you can make such a note before you meet them. If not, the first day will be okay.
Write out your expectations and what would you like to achieve with the class. Note if someone has potential, or if some students might be remarkably quiet and shy.
This will help you significantly with your revisions.
#3 One Day at a Time
Finally, work one day at a time and don’t expect your teacher’s diary to be effective immediately. You can even fill it out while the class is ongoing as you already have the fields you need. Such a thing is especially easy now with online classes.
And don’t be troubled by the fact that most spaces will be blank. These are just bits of data and you will only be able to see a pattern once you do your weekly, monthly, and after-semester revisions.
While keeping a daily diary just for your job can be time-consuming, a teacher's daily diary isn't. If we take a few pointers from our colleges in Europe where Class Diaries are the norm, we can easily copy that idea for our purposes.
Make a template, write notes to yourself, and slowly fill out the data as you go. At worst, this will take half an hour after your day and at best you will be able to fill your diary as the class goes and not work from memory at all.
After only a month you will see the first benefits of such a system and will be able to conduct your classes better and focus exactly on the students and themes that need the most attention.