Advice to New Teachers

advice

From the staff at Duncanrig:

  • Good organisation is key! Get yourself some post-it notes and coloured pens to help with this!

  • Try to find something you like in every child you teach.

  • Thorough preparation is the key.

  • Never underestimate the positive impact that you can have on the lives of the young people in your classes.

  • Try to meet the needs of every learner.

  • In terms of discipline: go in hard…no nonsense…then ease off. Too difficult to do it the other way round!

  • Keep on top of the paperwork (e.g. who hands homework in and when) and the discipline.

  • Smile …it’s contagious and sets a positive, welcoming start to a lesson. And keep smiling.

  • Learn to be as good at listening as you are at talking.

  • … prioritise relationships, with colleagues, yes, but, most importantly, with pupils. If they can see that you care, that you are approachable and have a sense of humour and that you love your subject, you will be able to tackle all the other challenges more easily.

  • “remember they are only children and you are the adult”. I still need to remind myself of that so as not to allow myself to be drawn into their petty arguments.

  • Stay organised and use your planner/diary!

  • Remember that everything you slog your guts out to create in your first year of teaching might be something that helps you in your second year, third year, fourth year…

  • Always be positive – “When it rains, look for rainbows.”

  • Be positive as this it is the most rewarding job in the world.

  • Good relationships with pupils are the key to a successful learning environment.

  • Plan your time wisely – prioritise!

  • Do nothing on a Friday night.

  • Make a big deal of feedback – if you’ve sat for hours marking jotters make sure the pupils read it and use it to develop (build feedback tasks into the lesson).

  • Keep your powder dry in the staff room. Get the measure of people before you wade in with opinions or revelations.

  • Be flexible with your teaching styles and adopt a holistic approach.

  • Every young person is at the centre of learning.

  • I would recommend getting on top of behaviour management straight away, because once you nail this, you can really concentrate on the learning and teaching.

  • Set expectations and tone before class enter.E.g., certainly for junior classes:Meet class at door; ensure pupils line against wall; phones & bottles away; prepare and settle down and prepare to get organised quickly; prepare ‘heads’ to learn; reminders given (bags, HW etc.); instructions given (starter tasks, distribution of materials etc).Individualised comments, welcomes etc can be given as class enters single file past teacher: this gives at least one personal interaction with every pupil, even before lesson starts.

  • Be consistent.

  • Don’t address the class till you have complete silence.

  • observe or co-op with as many great teachers as they can in their early years.

  • if your stand over pupils whilst talking to them then they are more likely to be fixated by the great view of UP YOUR NOSE  that they get than anything your actually saying ( back off – respect their personal space and don’t LOOM  ohh… & trim those nosehairs !)

  • If you raise your voice often, then you just become background noise (and you wreck your #1 tool : your vocal chords).

  • If doing Please Takes – always take plenty of spare pencils, paper etc. and stash an emergency Task or two (available from t’internet) up your sleeve in case no work has been left / cannot be found / has been stolen by the class before you arrived.

  • Don’t try to be the pupil’s FRIEND – they already have enough and it can seem creepy / inappropriate.

  • Treat them with respect and some humour if possible.(Some of them are living lives that WE could’t handle) they want a “Teacher” in the class who will to give structure and an element of security – not an old kid! (You are playing a role).

  • Bad behaviour can be  just a way of ensuring that the boundaries are still in the same place as before-  Kids with a chaotic life want the reassurance that x behaviour elicits y response – often they find it easier to use bad behaviour to test that the reassuring boundaries are still in place. (pity, though)