Tips for trainee teachers – Helen Lambourne

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Teaching is incredibly rewarding but the training is tough. This is what I learnt on my training course:

1. Use your mentors

They are the most valuable asset you will have when you are training, so utilise them! Ask them if you are stuck on a lesson idea, not sure about the scheme of work, want to check you are marking assessments correctly or struggling with the workload. They've been teaching longer than you and would have gone through the exact same process and problems as you. So, you are definitely not alone when you are training.

2. Make friends with the other trainees

Other trainees are another useful asset. They are going through exact same thing as you at the exact same time. If you're lucky, you might be placed in a school with another trainee. Make friends with them. Try to have catch up sessions with them.  Bounce ideas off them and vice versa. I am still friends with one of the trainees from my host school and since he teaches English, he proof-reads my application letters!

3. Ask for help

I cannot stress enough how important this is, and I only wish I would have followed this advice when I was training. I'm not ashamed to admit I struggled while I was training. As an August baby, straight from university, I was easily one of the youngest trainees on my course, if not the youngest so naturally I wanted to prove I deserved my place on the course and how good a teacher I could be. However, this meant that when I was struggling to juggle the planning, teaching, creating resources and marking I didn't want to admit it. To me, admitting I was struggling meant that I was a failure, I was wrong. It was only when my training provider realised I was struggling that I got more support. With hindsight, I had nothing to worry about. They were really supportive and had helped other trainees in the exact same position as me in the past. We had a meeting to discuss how they can help me, and how I could make changes to help myself. As a result, I became a better teacher.

4. It gets easier once you qualify

You will hear this a lot. When you train, you have to fill out lesson plans for every single lesson, but when you qualify you don't have to which vastly reduces your planning time (my plans are my lesson PowerPoints). You also have access to pre-prepared schemes of work and lessons which is another bonus (although you do have to adapt them occasionally).

5. Finally, it will be stressful

You will wonder why you decided to teach, but the lack of a social life, late nights planning, working in school holidays, occasional emotional breakdowns (trust me, every teacher does!) and the stress will be worth it when in July, the children say they will miss you when you leave, you have your QTS, and the world is your teaching oyster.

Helen

You can follow Helen’s progress as a newly qualified teacher, and experience of being a trainee teacher, on her blog.