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How to utilise the '3rd space' to get your appraisal reflections done!

Posted by Granted Education on November 19, 2017 at 9:15 PM

Ok, breathe in and then out. This shouldn’t be too painful but I was thinking that some of you don’t know there’s an easier way to get your appraisal reflections done. Let me start at the beginning …

A typical day for me is to get up at 6am, hit the snooze button a couple of times before checking the weather for the day. After considering what to wear, showering, getting dressed, making a takeaway coffee for me and one for my partner for when she wakes up, I then drive 20ish minutes to work. Assume a hectic whirlwind day ensues until school finishes, at which point I start planning ahead, finding resources for lessons and mark shit! I leave work at around 6pm, come home to where, thankfully more often than not, I have dinner waiting for me. My partner & I watch our usual couple of tv soaps that have been recorded so we don’t have to watch the ads, we have a chat about life in general and I’m in bed by around 11pm-ish. Sleep, wake up and repeat!

Oh god, it sounds depressing when you put it that way but welcome to teaching. You know, no one tells you about this when you first enrol at university to take on this illustrious career. Anyhow, that’s a discussion for another time! I guess what I’m trying to say is that in a life that is already so damn busy, where do you have time to update your professional reflections to meet your appraisal expectations and inadvertently your teacher registration?? That’s where the 3rd space comes in!

The 3rd space is the time in between stuff. You know, when you’ve left home but not at work yet or left work and not home yet or you arrive early somewhere and trying desperately not to look like a loser with no friends. Eeek, quick childhood flashback, best repress that for a later date with a shrink! For me, the 3rd space offers me nearly an hour of time to reflect on my teaching practice for the day - what went well, what to never do again (and there’s always plenty)! Until recently, I have used the time to unwind, think things through but not really record anything - what a waste! Enter one of my most favourite and productive apps - Voice Record Pro!

I pop in my hands free, which allows me to drive responsibly and I think through what worked well. Appraisals are just about showing that you have reflected on your practice and showing your learning journey. I was so productive the other day that I knocked out 6 reflections on my way home from work! All you have to do is press record and then start speaking. Well, it sounds easy but I guess it did take a little practice to record my thoughts without coming off like a bumbling buffoon who struggles to string a sentence together. The more you practice, the easier it gets. The best thing is that if you don’t like it - delete it! It’s no biggie. Ah, the wonders of modern technology!

When you get a moment then, have a quick listen to the 1st 30sec and you’ll know what the general reflection was about, change the title, which changes the name of the recording (important when you download it to your computer) and then in the notes section, add the teaching criteria that the topic spans. This way, you don’t have to listen to the whole thing when you’re ready to upload it and you’re all sorted!

You are able to upload the recording as either a voice recording (MP3) or as a movie (MP4). Don’t stress, it doesn’t video record you, so you can do this even after a shitty day! Personally, I am using Google Sites to host my professional blog and I have found it so much easier and faster to upload the recording as a movie, so that’s the format I send it to myself in.

I think I have sensed more than a couple of you freaking out about the technical skills you think this takes but seriously, a little kid could do this. Just to ease your mind, I’ve created a quick video tutorial so you can follow along with it until you’re confident. Seriously, you’ll be wondering why it has taken you so long to do this! The awesome thing is that you can recall any of your parent conversations, professional development sessions (we have them weekly, so it’s easy for me) or just classroom planning/running.

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Before you know it, you’ll be a lean, mean reflecting machine! I can’t remember whether or not I had to pay for the app, but even if you have to, the value is so worth it - and tax deductible! I’m a musician too, and I find it super handy to record song ideas with lyrics/chords in the notes sections. You’re just limited by your imagination.

Here’s an example of one of my reflections, oh my goodness, I can’t believe I’m doing this ... *insert cringe!

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This recording meets the following criteria for my teacher appraisal: RTC 1 - Professional Relationships, RTC 2 - Wellbeing, RTC 3 - Bicultural Relationships, RTC 5 - Leadership, RTC 6 - Professional knowledge in practice, RTC 7 - Learning Environment, RTC 8 - How Akonga (students) learn, RTC 9 - Diversity.... Nailed it!

Well, there you have it, now there’s no excuses for not getting up to date with your professional blog/reflections. Good luck and I would love to hear how you go with it. Leave a comment in the section below with your experiences/frustrations around this process. Let me know if I can help and I’m happy to run a live session on it to help out if needed.

Happy recording!


Vikki Grant

Categories: Effective Teacher Practices

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