My top five teacher training tips – Frankie Barrington

Tuesday 22 October 2019, Teacher Training

by Frankie Barrington

My top five teacher training tips – Frankie Barrington

Frankie Barrington

As an NQT, my first full year of teaching seems to have flown by. It's been a busy year, and I still find myself thinking “Wow, I'm actually a teacher now!” I trained through a School Direct route which put me right in the centre of school life from day one. I had training in Reception, Year 3 and Year 6, and I am now the very proud teacher of a Year 2 class. In light of my training period coming to a close, here are some tips that I have put together to inspire anyone who is about to take the leap into the best profession in the whole world.

1. Be prepared
In the world of teaching, organisation is key. I would recommend buying a USB with a large memory, and also splashing out on a portable hard drive. This allows you to back up everything. I keep every lesson that I ever teach, labelled so that I can find it easily if I ever need it again. Also, get a good, sturdy diary and use this to help you balance your time. My biggest help during the summer leading up to my training year, was Sue Cowley’s How to Survive Your First Year in Teaching. This book is fantastic in preparing you for the start of life as a teacher. She has also written a book called Getting the Buggers to Behave which brings me onto my second point…

2. Know your behaviour policy
As someone who has found behaviour management challenging, I know that the behaviour in your classroom can be a make or break factor in your lessons and observations. It is a good idea to read your school’s behaviour policy very carefully to make sure that you are able to apply rewards and sanctions consistently and as they are intended. If you do find yourself in a school where the behaviour management policy is minimal, don't be afraid to introduce rewards systems for individual pupils (after discussing with your mentor) or to try different approaches. Some approaches work well for one class but will have no effect on another. It's all about being flexible, and getting to know the children.

3. Try new things
Don't ever be afraid to try something new in the classroom. Just because you're a trainee teacher, it doesn't mean that your contributions and ideas are not valid. Are you experienced in using an iPad? Introduce it into your lessons. Have you thought of a school trip that would fit perfectly with a topic that you are teaching? Suggest it to your mentor. Some of my best observations have come from trying something new. Sometimes a trainee or someone who is new to a setting can provide a fresh perspective.

4. Share, share, share! 
In teaching, ideas get passed around and shared again and again. Sitting down to plan a lesson can sometimes end up in re-inventing the wheel. Be sure to check sites like Twinkl and TES for resources that could knock hours off of your planning time. If you do your training in a number of different settings then I would recommend asking in each setting if they would allow you to copy planning and resources from their school network onto a USB. You never know what year you might end up teaching so having a bank of plans and resources that you can tweak is really helpful. Similarly, if you make a resource or plan a lesson/scheme that has worked really well then share it on resource sites and with other teachers in your school.

5. Don't be too hard on yourself! 
As anyone in the education field will know, teaching is tough. There are days when you blame yourself for everything, and there are days when you feel on top of the world. There are days when everything bobs along nicely and there are days where you feel stretched so thin that you're sure you'll never ping back into shape. On all of those days, take one look at the children that you do all of this for. Remember the child that didn't speak a word of English on their first day and now won't stop talking. Take a moment to think about the children who say “I want to be just like you when I grow up.” You are doing all of this so that you can help and inspire young people, and you are doing it brilliantly. You are only human, and there is no such thing as a perfect teacher!


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