To Review, or Not to Review, That is the Question.
There is always much discussion on this in the beginning of the school year.
Do you do file reviews on students? Do you talk to last year’s teacher?
I am not here to change your mind on this much debated topic, but I am here to share some considerations. I encourage you to reflect on your practice and mindfully choose what works for you.
Opinions Versus Professional Observations
You see this quote all over, “ Never judge a student by the opinion of other teachers,” and I’m actually not sure why it exists.
In every school, in every district, in every province with in which I have worked, the teachers I have had the privilege of working with have been highly trained professionals dedicated to improving the lives of students.
I am not looking for their opinions and they are not wanting to gossip. I’m looking to their expertise and their professional experiences with the children who may most need my support with the transition into a new classroom setting.
A few reasons why I touch base with last year’s teacher:
1. give me tips to support learners who may struggle with the transition (ie. ways to engage and connect)
2. let me know a reluctant readers favourite book series or topics of interest so that I can have books on hand from day one
3. let me know a reluctant learners interests so I may tie it in to my first week
4. let me know about what, in the past, has soothed worries for a child with anxiety (ie Chill SKill tools)
With a background in Special Education, I know very valuable information can be gathered quickly from a file review. The reviews help me learn a little about where a child is “at” so I know where to start.
I feel this is about me setting up a student-centred, not a teacher-centred classroom.
In setting up my Joyful Classroom, I do file reviews and talk to my colleagues with my intention being to best service students from the moment they enter my classroom.
I invite you to take a moment to reflect on how you set up your classroom to personalize it from the get go.