Recording your professional development

Recording ongoing evidence is a key part of teaching, writes Julie McGarvey.

Home Economics Teacher, Craigroyston Community High School, Edinburgh

One question nagged at me all morning on the first day of the probationary year, the same one that had been gnawing at me all summer: can I do this?

All sorts of scenarios of what I was about to experience were playing in a loop inside my head involving words like profile, portfolio, professional development, but I needn't have worried.

Throughout the year there were many opportunities, both formal and informal, to share my own experience with colleagues, observe experienced teachers in class and, in turn, be observed occasionally by my principal teacher (PT) and SIM (one of the deputy heads).

Colleagues in the school were happy to pass on resources, strategies for classroom organisation, cups of tea and hot tips on how to manage that scary S3 class.


I found a wide variety of CPD workshops to be worthwhile and, it seemed that each was specifically designed to keep this probationer sane.

On offer were workshops and presentations in:

  • inspiring learners
  • voice enhancement
  • interview techniques
  • pupil reports
  • writing the Final Profile
  • behaviour management
  • maintaining sanity

Through these I felt I was able to transfer skills and strategies demonstrated into my own teaching. I could project my voice, handle low level disruption - I could do anything!

I still dreaded the words Continuing Professional Development and flinched at the mention of Interim and Final Profiles!

Building my CPD Portfolio

My PT, and the SIM, were happy to advise me on all aspects of the portfolio. I was given opportunities to reflect on my ongoing experience and progress through informal chats with my colleagues in school.

I spoke with my fellow probationers at CPD meetings, social outings and late night phonecalls that usually had something to do with, you've guessed it, how to manage that scary S3 class.

Throughout the year my principal teacher was supportive and friendly, the department well organised and the staffroom a pleasant place to be. My colleagues were supportive and most importantly of all the pupils were manageable and pretty eager to learn.

Looking back I had some memorable experiences with scary S3, most of them positive. I dreaded my first parents' evening, but I drove home smirking at a joke one mother had told me.

The pupils are unique and so is the experience. Wherever you live your probationary year, enjoy it and remember: you can do it!