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Using OneNote to Communicate With Your Teaching Partner

Using OneNote to Communicate With Your Teaching Partner

This is part three of my part-time teaching series. You can find part one here and part two here.

Thinking about, or actually, teaching part time next year, but unsure how to keep up good communication with your teaching partner? Yeah, we were in that exact same boat. Then Harry had a great idea – use OneNote!

Harry and I started using OneNote from the very beginning of the year. He’s a bit of a whiz at it, so admittedly he did all the setting up and getting it off the ground. We’ve adapted how we use it a little over the course of the year, and what you see below is the final product.

Of course this system may not work for you, but it could be worth a shot. It was particularly useful for us in the beginning as the leadership team were (for some unknown reason) a bit nervous about us being part time and job-sharing. Letting them know that we had already thought out our day-to-day logistics and communication strategies eased a few of those concerns.

Overall we have had great success, and I put that down in large part to this system.

We only had a small window of cross-over when we were both in the staffroom at the same time to discuss things. 90% of our non-face-to-face contact was through OneNote. We recorded everything here that we thought the other person may need to know, and also gave access to our Head of Department, so they could be across our communications too if needed.

Here is how we set up our OneNote to facilitate job-sharing a high school teaching position where we both worked part time.

The first thing to note (ha) is that we had a joint NoteBook, along with our own individual NoteBooks. The joint one was for anything and everything that we both needed to be across, and this is what I will outline below. Our individual ones were largely used for planning for the subjects that we didn’t share (I had a year 7 science class and he had a 11/12 digital technology class).

Within the joint one, we had three sections – Info, Planning, and Records.

Info

This section had as many pages as needed.

Examples of our pages include:

  • Links
    • Hyperlinks to useful information, such as our staff Sharepoint, informative youtube videos (informative for us, not students), PD links
  • Student Info
    • Quick snapshot of important information, divided up by class
      • g. health or mental health considerations, extra-curriculars that impact attendance
    • Lockdown Timetable
      • Our schools have occasional lockdowns where we will be working from home, and we have an alternate timetable for those periods

Planning

This Section had loads of pages – one for each subject we teach, and also some extras:

  • Timetable Sharing Plan
    • Outline of our communication plan from when we first agreed to share part time, and written largely for the leadership team. It outlined our expectations of each other, our responsibilities, and our agreed-upon working practices.
  • Class rules and expectations
    • Our shared classroom values, rules, and expectations
  • About Us
    • Section from the beginning of the year where we wrote a little spiel about ourselves so we could share with our classes regardless of who saw them first
  • Unit Plans
    • Individual pages that hold our faculty-dictated unit plans for each subject/year level so that we can quickly refer back to them

  • Lesson Plans
    • Each subject has its own page
      • Page broken up into a pseudo calendar
        • Weekly rows, with each individual lesson given its own box (think like a spreadsheet)
        • Within this we have written in black the content to be covered that day
        • Written as a checklist to tick off if there are multiple parts to the content
        • Includes any activities, experiments, etc or school calendar items
        • We each leave feedback within the lesson box (written in red) about how the lesson went – anything from behaviour to sequencing etc. Basically anything we think is important for the other person to know
      • This forms a permanent record of the entire year in terms of content covered, behaviour issues, and any other information that is important
      • We can see it, but we can also grant access to other members of staff if needed
      • We never delete out comments by the other person. We may rearrange content sequencing etc, but always in enough advance to allow the other person adequate time to prepare (where possible)
      • Lesson boxes are colour-coded depending who teaches then
      • Text is black coloured for the lesson topic, red for feedback

Records

This section has a few pages, mostly with links:

  • Mark book links
    • Links to our departmental mark books, where we are required to record student progress and grades
  • Meeting notes
    • Record of important information from meetings that one of us was unable to attend
  • Parent Teacher interviews
    • Multiple sub-pages here
    • Pre-interview information, where we record what we want to discuss with the parents, student progress etc – we can both leave notes as parents will only be seeing one of us
    • Then we each have our own section to record what was discussed during the meeting – serves as our own record for follow up etc, but also so the other teacher can see what was discussed and any future directions needed on their behalf

So there you have it! Our use of OneNote definitely smoothed the year over in an absolutely invaluable way.

What tools do you use for part time teaching?

Emily

Emily is a secondary science and math teacher in Australia. She enjoys sharing the real and human teacher life, facilitating the ‘light bulb’ moment in her students, and drinking tea and wine.

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