As an administrator, I have tried to find creative and effective ways to keep track of the going-on in the center. Let's face it, we need to remember every time someone came in late (or not at all), every time a parent complains (or even compliments) a teacher, and every other little nuance from the big (finger caught in the door) to the little (child sent home ill).

Why do we need to keep track? Because it never fails when you need to know this stuff, you forget it. How many times was that employee out this pay period? I know it seemed like a lot, but was it really that many or that few? This parent said she has mentioned something 5 times, I can remember one, but did she come in more than once? When did that report go to licensing? Or even When was the last time I heard from licensing? It seems like I just did staff evaluations, are they really due again? And on and on and on...

Well, I have found a great way that really works for me: I keep a journal. I tried keeping one on the computer, but for some reason that wasn't working for me. I tried all sorts of different ways: in word, in outlook, one document a day, one document that I just added to daily, and many more. None of that worked for me; it might work for you.

At one point I had an index card for everyday sitting on my desk that I made notes on. I put the date in the top corner and then noted things throughout the day on it. This worked for a while, but it took up too much space (I know only a small index box, but still), and it was pretty inconsistent. Again, this idea might actually work for someone else.

I have since moved on to the one that works best for me: an old fashioned pen and paper journal. You can pick one up at the dollar stores. This has worked fabulously. The last 15 minutes of my day I spend writing in the journal...NO MATTER WHAT! I do this as a "closed office" time. Don't answer the phone, close the door, pretend I'm not there. I think that is really the key to this: it's been made a priority in the day.

This really helped when I had an employee who was constantly calling in sick, or late, or coming in asking to leave early, on a regular basis; by regular I mean at least every other day if not every day. Even though they were "reasonable" excuses, it was just too much. It also helped when I had a parent who didn't bring in her paperwork even though I had asked repeatedly for a month.

It's been a great tool. This is something that teachers can even use in the classroom to help out in recognizing behaviors and patterns of children in the classroom.

How do you keep track of daily information in your center?

1 comment:

jlshall said...

I'm not a school administrator, but I've always thought the idea of setting aside a certain time to write in my journal at the end or beginning of every day is a great idea. The best way to be sure that I do some journaling each day is simply to put it on my agenda with all my other activities. Recently I've had to start keeping my journal on the computer because of arthritis in my fingers – otherwise, though, I agree the old fashioned pen and notebook are really the best way to go. Inexpensive, easy to carry around, and they don't need plugs or batteries to use!