After all the brainstorming, it was time to create something. I decided to go with the option that I knew I would be able to complete in the given time frame (and with my level of ability to effect change in my district): an itinerant elementary music teacher handbook. As a new teacher in my district, you go through lots of new employee orientation sessions, but when it came to music in particular? We were sat in a room, with three books as a sample of what was available, and told there was no district curriculum. This did not prepare me at all for what the future of my position looked like, and I don’t wish that situation on anyone else.
I’ve started a basic outlined prototype with some of the information I’d like to include: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uJ55uk37w5v19R5-D-06kI8XQdoCvCg3NUcPWVMiuEA/edit?usp=sharing
I think that this will best be kept digitally so that it is easy to update and distribute. I considered a website format for a while but decided against it because not as many people are comfortable updating a webpage as they are a word document. The end goal is for this to remain accurate and up-to-date, and that won’t happen if there are barriers to change the information.
There are a lot of parallels in creating a document like this and creating informational documents about your duties when you leave a role that isn’t teaching. When I left my previous position as a Client Services Assistant for an educational technology company, I created many documents around my clients, updating SalesForce, using our back-end to renew clients, etc. As I know I will be leaving my itinerant position at the end of this school year (whenever that may be!), this felt very similar.
This document felt difficult to prepare considering the uncertainties of the rest of the school year. Teaching in the Seattle area has been incredibly stressful this month, and even as we are not required to teach during the school closure, I worry about my students and colleagues. Hopefully there will eventually be a return to normalcy and this document will aid future itinerants, improving their experiences as educators.