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Dusty ALT Diaries: Keeping a Teacher Log

One of the many projects I undertook while in self-isolation for COVID19 was to go through all my notebooks and digitize all my writing bits and pieces.

I stumbled across pages of my old ALT years, which was inevitable. I never throw notebooks away, which is why I constantly suffer when I move house, filling a whole suitcase with mostly scribbles and nonsense.

However, teacher logs aren’t nonsense!

Also known as teacher journals, teacher logs are when you write down classes that you’ve planned. How did they go? What went well? What went horribly awry?

I was super thorough for this lesson, probably because I really wanted to figure out why it went so horribly wrong. You can tell, because I usually put my mistakes in red and those pages are like a murder scene.

Anways, teacher logs are especially great for ALT’s who intend to stay for longer than a year or two. You can keep track of things that worked, things that didn’t, and what needs improvement. The teacher logs can also help you just generally improve as a teacher.

Since it’s usually really hard to get good, critical direct feedback from most JTE’s, being able to self-analyze will be the main way you figure out what your weak points and strong points are. If you’re running into the teaching gig blind, like I did, then it’s going to be helpful to stumble your way into creating your own teaching methods.

You also get an idea for a reward system? Sketch it out, jot it down! I thought about this classwork reward system stamp rally. When u did some research online, I actually managed to find a few that could work. I never ended up implementing it as an ALT (my JTE’s said no, booo) but I did end up using a version of this in my high school teaching a couple years after JET.

Teacher logs helped keep my memory of students and teachers, too. I could look through it and remember names and faces better than if I just looked through a student name sheet. I could keep notes on who needed help and who excelled in the class. With the log, it worked as kind of keystone for creating good relationships at my schools.

In general, keeping a teacher log worked really well for me. Some people think they’re kind of a waste of time, because writing down every lesson would be so tedious. To that I say, you’re right, so just write down the important stuff and leave out all the rest. It’s meant to be a tool for you to use as is beneficial to you, so therefore it doesn’t have to be used daily or anything.

It’s up to you, but I liked having a place to keep all my thoughts together. For the self-analysis, self-improvement, and memories, I think a teacher log is a good tool to utilize. Consider making a digital one instead of a notebook, though, because if you move those kind of pile up.

I’ve been thinking for a while now that I should dedicate a good few throwback or diary flashbacks posts of the ALT times. As I continue through these notebooks, I’m sure I’m going to find more remnants of the past. Hopefully, somebody will find these old papers useful somehow.

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