News & Events
- November 2, 2016
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
Documentation is critical in any job, but for teachers the levels to which we must document things can seem a bit overwhelming. A tremendous amount of documentation must be kept in order to maintain an effective file for each student. That, in and of itself, is enough to keep teachers overly busy, but it doesn’t end there. Teachers must also provide written information about each class they are teaching in the form of lesson plans, some of which can be extremely detailed. Grades and progress reports have become fairly complex in recent years. Academic issues and behavioral incidents must be recorded in detail to maintain effective files. Last but not least on this incomplete list of things that must be written down are the communications – both formal in informal – between the teachers and the parents.
For many teachers, having just read this opening paragraph has you reaching for the Advil. This is a daunting and thankless task that offers little reward when completed but substantial grief when incomplete. There are, however, those rare moments when school documentation can bring a smile to your face. These often come in the form of notes sent to you from parents. Here are a few I found, thanks to Google, that have spiced up a few teacher correspondence files:
- “Please excuse Harriet for missing school yesterday. We forget to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.”
- “Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.”
- “Please excuse my son’s tardiness. I forgot to wake him up and I did not find him till I started making the beds.”·
- “Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father’s fault.” (Source: http://riatsala.tripod.com/funny/excuses.htm)
Yes – even those need to be filed away for posterity (although I do recommend keeping a copy in your “Smile File” for those days where you need a mood correction).
So why the need for all of this paperwork? Documentation helps to maintain a formal record of progress, incidents, agreements, and the actions that follow. It holds everyone accountable to do the work needed to help successfully educate the student. But most importantly, it provides a map for the teachers who will follow you to see where you have been and what you have done so that they can most effectively continue the work that you have started. Good documentation saves time, energy, and helps you to formulate your beliefs about the child more quickly and completely.
This simple idea holds true in other areas of our life. Do you prefer a detailed accounting of your financial portfolio or are you okay with your advisor or banker merely telling you, “No need for numbers – It’s all good. Trust me.” Written contracts are vital to any business transaction. Even recipes are designed to help you remember the right amount of each ingredient needed to prevent disasters at dinner. So it is easy to see that if it is important, it needs to be documented.
John understood this concept as well, and even went so far as to explain it near the end of his gospel. John 20:30-31 explains: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John didn’t write this account so that when he and the other disciples got together they could reminisce. It was so that those of us who would come later would have the detailed account of Jesus’ life and ministry, events surrounding Jesus’ teaching, miracles, and ultimately His death and resurrection. From John and the other writers of the Bible we receive a firsthand record of the great love that God has for us, leaving us no reason to doubt the greatness of our God and a clear understanding of how He has given us the way to forgiveness and eternal life. So while our financial records and our classroom files are important, they pale in comparison to the life-changing message that God has given us in His word.
My prayer for you is to treat it like the humorous notes you sometimes receive from parents. Hold onto it, turn to it, and use it to help guide you through the good times and the bad times that come as a part of life here on earth. After all, misworded notes can give you a chuckle but eternal life is a much longer lasting smile!
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
LSEM Director of Programs & Services