Starting at a New School by Anonymous

Name: Anonymous
Sector:  Secondary
Position: Head of Department
5 Bits of Advice About: Starting at a new school

  1. Set clear simple rules and follow them consistently. Make sure they match school procedures.
  2. Keep your lessons simple and full of hard work. Set the tone for the rest of the year.
  3. Ignore anyone, typically pastoral leaders, who try to excuse pupil behaviour. Find staff who deal with it and can support you.
  4. Find out stuff about the pupils in your care, especially difficult ones. It makes it easier to get them onside.
  5. Don’t get too stressed by homework. The only people who are all over homework are the people who don’t have to do it or set it.

First Week Worries by @malcolmwilson01

Name: Malcolm Wilson
Twitter name: @malcolmwilson01
Sector: Primary
Subject taught (if applicable):
Position: Class Teacher
What is your advice about? First week worries

1: Own your ignorance. It’s fine not to know anything about ‘the way we do things around here.’

2: Find a friend. Teaching can be achingly lonely, so look for at least one colleague to trust and share stuff with.

3: Don’t be fobbed off. “You’re a trained teacher, so you should know what you’re doing” isn’t an adequate or professional response from a colleague.

4: Remember the Head is human. Schools are hierarchical and leadership can feel lonely and exposed, so look for opportunities for assertive and honest conversations.

5: It’s not your fault. You may feel like a failure at first, but that’s typical, to be expected as you have limited control over your environment, and usually passes.

First Time in the Classroom by @clyn40

Name: Carolyn O’Connor
Twitter name: @clyn40
Sector: FE
Subject taught (if applicable):
Position: Teacher
What is your advice about? First time in the classroom

1: Don’t assume as it’s post compulsory education all the students want to be there, some have had no option due to family pressure. So be prepared for the disenchanted students!

2: Don’t let them know you are a trainee teacher, believe me I’ve seen both sides of the coin.

3: Don’t take everything that is said about the class as Gospel, make your own mind up. They may only behave that way for certain teachers.

4: Make sure you know the class rules, speak to their personal tutor. They will try to tell you differently, e.g. “Yes we can eat crisps and sausage rolls in class”.

5: Learn names quickly, ask for a print out of names with photos. It really helps you with a whole range of things from Q & A to behaviour management.

First lessons by @big_mean_bunny

Name: Catherine Malcolm
Twitter: @big_mean_bunny
Sector:  Secondary
Subject: English
Position: Head of Department
5 Bits of Advice About:  First lessons

  1. Invest time in routines. Little things like how to enter the room, hand out papers, or answer questions in full sentences, if practised at the start, will save you time later.
  2. Learn the name of every student, preferably by the end of lesson one. A seating chart can help if you think you will struggle.
  3. Make students write in silence. You can get an idea of their literacy and their ability to follow instructions, and you can get to know them while they work.
  4. Make your expectations explicit with regards behaviour, equipment, or anything else. Do not accept less than your expectations – make them high and clear.
  5. Be the teacher. You are not their friend or their parent; remember that you are the authority in the room, not them.