In those first weeks of starting your training you’ll only be teaching a few lessons and keeping on top of writing lesson plans and reflecting on your teaching practice will be relatively straightforward and not all that time consuming. However by the time March swings round and you are 6 months in, it’s a different story; with 15 or more lessons a week to plan and teach and all the responsibilities of a regular class teacher (think assessments, marking, homework…), you’ll be wishing that you put the time in to keep on top of things from the start. Getting into a routine early also means it can feel a lot less stressful later on in the game.
2.Get to know your classes – make that extra effort
All teacher training providers have their own format for interviews. Some Higher Education Institutions and School Centred Initial Teacher Training providers will have individual and group tasks as part of their selection process. My tips below are therefore not an attempt to second guess interview questions, rather to act as food for thought.
Key areas to consider
A provider may wish to explore these key areas:
Why you feel you want to become a teacher.
How your experience and qualifications to date have prepared you for the role.
What specific qualities, skills and knowledge you'd bring to the role/school.
Your ability to reflect on lessons you've observed.
Areas of strength and areas you feel you'd need more support with.
How well you understand their course (vision, structure and aims etc.).
I cannot believe that I am just short four months away from obtaining my PGCE. In some ways this course has been a bit of a blur, but the hard work that has been required has pushed me beyond belief. Here are my top three tips for trainee teachers-to-be...
1. Become as organised as you possibly can
If you don't have a diary, GET one! Life moves as fast as a flash when you're a trainee and if you don't keep track of your time and the dates it is very easy to get left behind. I have an academic diary which is separate to my journal and I use it every single day! If you didn't start organising before, you're going to have to now. I'm still working on it to...
I became a teacher because I realised that I wanted to be free to plan my days, to work with young people in a vibrant ever-changing environment and because I wanted to do something that might make a positive difference.
I have worked in primary and secondary schools and have also spoken at hundreds of conferences, so you could say I have taught teachers too. Essentially, the job has many similarities throughout all age ranges. The key characteristic is one of connecting with others, engaging them in a compelling process that helps them to think, enabling them to learn something new.
When I started teaching I worked in a large secondary school. Every day was different and exciting but there were plenty of challenges too. When I look back, I remember the highs and lows of exhilaration when things went well as well as the exhaustion that came just before a holiday. I remember pupils that I taught and their delight and...
In this blog I’ll be giving you a brief introduction to one of the key themes you’re likely to encounter in your teacher training - assessment.
When we think of assessment, we think of tests and exams, however the most important assessment takes place every day in classrooms.
There are of course examinations that most students will sit, whether they are government standardised tests such as SATs or exam board GCSE or A-level examinations. It is worth having a read through the National Curriculum and an exam board specification to see what is covered and what questions are asked. These exams and tests are known as summative assessments, which summarise learning, usually in the form of a grade.
However, summative assessment can dominate schools and classrooms, where there is over-emphasis on grades, feedback is managerial rather than on learning and...
Part of becoming a teacher is observing teachers and children in schools. If you’re on a teacher training degree programme, this will happen on a regular basis. But, is everything you see good teaching?
Neuroscientists have been trying to figure out how our brains work for decades. This includes how we learn. Some teachers will tell you they use ‘neuroscience’ based techniques. But beware, there are some bad teaching methods and brain myths still being used in some schools that aren’t backed by any scientific evidence.
In this blog I’ll look at some myths about the brain, look at those discredited teaching methods and explain how we know they don’t work.
We only use 10% of our brain!
This is a common ‘fact’ that’s false. We use all of our brain nearly all of the time. How do we know?
Studies of brain damage - If only 10% of the brain is normally used, then damage to other...
Stepping into the classroom as a trainee teacher for the first time can be daunting, and if you've signed up for a school direct course – it is a feeling you are going to get used to. From one trainee to another, here are five things I've learnt about life inside the classroom over the past six months of being in at the deep end.
1.Whatever you do, do it with passion
Hate maths? Find history boring? Worried about teaching English? It doesn’t matter, whatever subject you are delivering, give it a big dollop of passion. If you don't find the subject interesting – how you expect your students to? I've discovered that finding something within the topic or subject I'm teaching that captures my imagination, and sharing this with the class, has a great impact on how they respond to it. I don't know about you, but when I think back to my favourite teachers from my own childhood – they were the ones who loved the subjects they taught...
I read hundreds of UCAS applications for teacher training every year and I cannot stress how important the personal statement is. It is my only insight into who you are and I tend to read it first.
I immediately look for a passion to teach. Personal statements that do not mention children or schools are not a good idea. If you have gained school experience, tell me about it. Do you have a clear vision of primary education? What have you found out? If you are changing careers then tell me about your experience and how it is relevant to working within a school.
Spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It DOES matter so check it through carefully and then do this again. Get someone to proofread it for you. If you cannot model a good level of writing here then I have a real concern about you doing so in a classroom. Check for long sentences, repeated words, and that you have used the correct...
This is part two of my blog where I’ve been looking back and reflecting on my experiences of initial teacher training. You can read about my initial worries in part one, but as my training draws to a close, here’s what I wish I’d known before I started.
What advice would I give myself now if I could go back?
Wellbeing - I can’t stress this enough. ITT is hard. NQT year is hard. First year as a qualified teacher is hard. So is the second year. It gets easier but it never gets easy. You must look after your own wellbeing. Twitter is a fantastic way of doing this. There are thousands upon thousands of optimistic, helpful teachers willing to help you out with anything. Take the scheme of work I mentioned in...
As my initial teacher training (ITT) starts to draw to a close, I thought it would be a good time to look back and reflect on my experiences so far; how far have I come, what do I know now that I wish I’d known two years ago. It’s also the time when new ITT prospects will be getting nervous about their applications, and so I thought it might help for me to put this in writing; even if it only helps one person then I’ll consider it a useful way to have spent my time.
My initial worries and what I think of them now
I remember worrying about a few things when I first got into teaching. Things that seemed so simple to every teacher I’d ever met, so much so that most of them never seemed to notice it. So here are a few of those things that niggled me: