We're just over half way through the first term of the school year. For all trainees, of all ages, it's a busy time. We asked our Now Teach network for their pearls of wisdom on how to make this term a success.
1. Find an NQT (newly qualified teacher) who trained with the same provider as you and make them your buddy. The training process will be freshest in their minds and they will have tips to share across the year.
2. You’ll need to collect evidence of your training in a QTS (qualified teacher status) portfolio – but it’s less daunting than it looks. Make a checklist of all the Teacher Standards and tick them off as you go. Focus on getting at least one piece of evidence for each standard by January and it will take the strain off considerably!
3. Teaching is a practical skill, so prioritise face-time with students and help them make progress over everything else. After all, you’ll primarily be assessed on your teaching ability.
4. Remember, all schools are different! Your first job is to figure out your school, how you best fit into it, where you can set about contributing - and forging those relationships.
5. When the students look as though they have gone wild, remember to be outwardly calm. Other teachers can help you settle the class but ensure students see you’re not fazed. And start the next lesson as if nothing happened...
6. When things go wrong - and they will! - breathe, relax, smile and carry on. They will get better...
7. Spend time with your students outside the classroom, like during breaktime, in the corridors or at lunchtime. Let them see you are a human being, not ‘just’ a teacher. This will build relationships and help gain trust, which then helps in managing student behaviour.
8. Keep a concise daily journal, which summarises the lessons you observe, lessons taught, your form, staff meetings, and training sessions by school or Now Teach . It will help in so many ways - with your development, reflections and the all-important QTS portfolio.
9. Don’t get involved in extracurricular activities before Christmas!
10. And finally...the most important thing to remember is that you have many sources of support: your colleagues at school, your training provider, your Programme Manager if you're a Now Teach trainee – and of course, the other trainee teachers who are embarking on this new career adventure with you.
Let them see you are a human being, not ‘just’ a teacher.