Do your photocopying the night before. This one seems obvious, but almost nobody does it. If you do all the photocopying for your lesson prep the night before, you will avoid the hair-tearing scenario of pitching up at the printer five minutes before your lesson only to discover the year 6 teacher has just begun printing out 32 copies of a SATs past paper. Plan in social time and stick to it. Everyone goes on about the importance of maintaining a work-life balance, but nobody tells you how to do it. The key is to schedule fun time in your diary in advance.
Plan at least one weekday night every week for relaxing and ringfence it. The ringfencing is really important: Get in the habit of making time now.
James Cutler, originally from Hereford, completed his NQT year in July
Fill your freezer with nutritious meals. Freezing a load of home-cooked meals can save time, money and your health. Devote a Sunday afternoon at the start of each month to cooking up several batches of your favourites. Be canny about it: If a whole afternoon in the kitchen feels too much, get in the habit of cooking a few extra portions whenever you do have enough time to make a decent meal.
Freeze them in foil baking trays so when you come home wiped, rather than reaching for the takeaway menu all you need to do is switch on your oven. This one is really important for primary newly qualified teachers NQT. If you need help then ask.
- How to survive your first year: a practical guide for new teachers | Teacher Network | The Guardian;
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Your mentor and professional mentor are there for support. Ask to go and observe other colleagues.
Ian Windsor (Author of New to teaching? tips for survival.)
Be enthusiastic, professional and keen to learn. You won't be the finished article — no teacher ever is. Speak to colleagues and tap into their wisdom; we have a wealth of skills and knowledge in our own schools and you don't always need to go out to external courses. Don't get caught in the staff room moaning about a particular class or pupil. Instead, ask others about their behaviour and ask if you can sit at the back of the class to watch how that teacher manages them. Positive relationships are the key to successful teaching — make sure that you show that you care about your pupils by learning their names within the first week and something about each of them.
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Accept that you are at the early stages of a journey of learning and that you will sometimes make mistakes. The important thing to do is reflect on how you can improve and allocate some time each week to your own development. Revisit notes from your teacher education programme on learning theories, talk with and observe colleagues that are known for making excellent use of behaviour for learning strategies, and evaluate your own practice.
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