Tights by Anonymous

Name: Anonymous
Twitter name: Anonymous
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Teacher
What is your advice about? Tights

  1. Buy them from Primark where you can get 5 pairs for £2.50
  2. Keep a spare pair in your work bag in case they ladder.
  3. Be organised: You can never have too many pairs of tights. Sometimes you can only wear them once so treat them as if they were disposable.
  4. Wear nude rather than glossy as they look more natural.
  5. Avoid stockings or hold ups as they are not practical and won’t stay up.

UCAS References by @RequireImprove

Name: Requires Improvement
Twitter name: @RequireImprove
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Phyiscs
Position: Teacher & 6th form tutor
What is your advice about? UCAS References

  1. Get as much done in summer term, year 12 as you can. The deadlines in autumn come up very quickly, especially for Oxbridge & Medicine.
  2. Don’t over-inflate predictions (rounding up to the next grade is usually OK). There’s no point a student getting an offer that they have no chance of meeting.
  3. If year 11/12 grades are below expectations, try to explain what went wrong and what the student has done about this.
  4. One big reason unis are interested in extra-curriculars is that they show “spare capacity” beyond school/college work. If that is caring for families, that’s good to mention.
  5. Showing an interest in the subject beyond lessons is good, independent interest is even better. Facilitating student-run activities will help applicants a lot.

Outside Speakers by @iteachRE

Name: Andy Lewis
Twitter name: @iteachRE
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): RE
Position: Head of Year 11 & 2nd i/c RE
What is your advice about? Outside Speakers

  1. Work on personal recommendation if possible – ask for a reference (that you can contact directly).
  2. Ask to see material in advance – PPTs, handouts etc.
  3. Check their requirements – rooming, projector, sound etc.
  4. Ensure they are “top and tailed” – introduce, set expectations… and then thank at the end!
  5. Have a back up plan if they don’t turn up!

Hot Weather by @iteachRE

Name: Andy Lewis
Twitter name: @iteachRE
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): RE
Position: Head of Year 11 & 2nd i/c RE
What is your advice about? Hot Weather

  1. Open windows first thing in the morning. Work out the optimum blind / window position.
  2. Encourage students to fill water bottles at break or lunch. If you let out one, they’ll all want to go.
  3. When Y11/12/13 go on study leave or are taking exams, move your class to rooms with air con, or are just cooler.
  4. Students can be reluctant to take off blazers, jumpers and cardigans. Gently encourage them to do so – especially if they are red faced!
  5. Think about things that generate heat – is it a good opportunity to switch off the projector?

Personal Statements by @pjmerrell

Name: PJ Merrell
Twitter name: @pjmerrell
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Head of Sixth
What is your advice about? Personal Statements

  1. Under no circumstances should the phrase “I have always wished to study …” appear. Your students are not child prodigies …
  2. Do not allow your charges to quote Einstein, Mandela or the Oxford English Dictionary.
  3. There will be an assumption that anything they say they’ve read, watched or studied they have actually … you know … read, watched or studied …
  4. 70% academic and 30% extra-curricular is a good guide. Unless they’re Oxbridge. Then they don’t care about extra-curricular. At all.
  5. Hardly anywhere interviews now. Personal statements really, really, REALLY matter. Proofread over and over again.

What not to do in your first term by @molin_bryan

Name: Bryan Molin
Twitter name: @molin_bryan
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Maths
Position: Assistant Headteacher
What is your advice about? What not to do in your first term

  1. “Don’t smile until Christmas.” Poor advice in my opinion, be genuine.
  2. Don’t wing lessons as you won’t get away with it. Make sure lessons are planned with your specific class in mind.
  3. Don’t always play it safe. Try new activities, with a little risk taking.
  4. Don’t work all the hours. Find ways to unplug and relax.
  5. Don’t give up when it gets hard. If you’re in it for the right reasons, teaching is a wonderful vocation.

How to teach music by @iQuirky_Teacher

Name: Quirky Teacher
Twitter name: @iQuirky_Teacher
Sector: Primary
Subject taught (if applicable): Everything, especially music
Position: Teacher and subject coordinator
What is your advice about? How to teach music

  1. Remember that music lessons need to include combinations of: music theory, how to play a tuned instrument/sing, music appreciation, music history and performance skills
  2. Speak with your music coordinator who should direct you to some decent resources, help you plan and let you know which instrument/choral skills you should be teaching
  3. ‘Experimentation’ is only allowed in KS1. In KS2, ‘creativity’ involves call and response, improvisation; you need to teach the whole class instrument skills and music theory.
  4. When teaching an instrument, use a process of no-nonsense explanation, demonstration and then children to practice until successful. Test frequently and apply in ensemble.
  5. Children love hearing/learning about Classical music and other genres, eg Blues. Avoid teaching only ‘relevant’ music such as ‘pop’, or co-opting lessons for PSHE purposes.