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Advice for starting a teaching role in January

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by BYusuf, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    With the opportunity still available to resign and then start a new teaching role in January, I would like to explore what someone should do in order to have the best possible start in January.

    What should they have in place especially if they are picking up classes that will have SATs, GCSEs or A levels in May 2017?

    What are the things that they would need to avoid?

    If you have ever begun a new educators role in January, what has been your own personal experience?
  2. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I have no experience of this but for GCSE and A-level classes, it is vital that you know exacly what will be expected of them in their exams and what parts of the course they have covered. If the new school uses different exam boards, that will men sopending some time looking at past papers. Ideally, you wil have a handover meeting with whoever took the classes before; if not, and the information is not available, you may need to talk with the students about what they have done. Changing their teacher at this stage could cause insecurity - you will need to deal with this by showing that they can have confidence in you. No room for easing yourself in gently.
    phlogiston, sabrinakat and BYusuf like this.
  3. teselectronic

    teselectronic Occasional commenter

    Totally agree with the above.
    I started in April, at an 11 - 19 School, as HOF. After only three days,
    I received a telephone call from an angry parent, who quoted, "one of your teachers has only completed 80% of the syllabus and I am going to sue the school". The pupil wanted to be a doctor!
    I managed to convince the parent that the pupil would do quite well.
    Outcome A*, however, the parent was indeed still quite cross.
    Please ensure you cover everything and to the best of your ability.
    Hope this helps.
    esther30 and sabrinakat like this.
  4. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Thanks for your reply and pointers, Piranha.

    A January start does indeed mean hitting the ground running. It also provides a challenging start to the Spring Term and the exam pressures associated with this particular time of year.
    murphymaxine likes this.
  5. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Thanks for your reply, teselectronic.

    I think that starting in April with exam groups provides the greatest challenges of all.

    What did you do during your first few days to ensure that you knew precisely where the students were in their learning / revision? Did you have handover meetings as suggested by Piranha?
  6. teselectronic

    teselectronic Occasional commenter

    Collected a sample of three books from each class; bottom, middle and top of the class. Commence analysis and make provision for improvement!
    When I commenced my appointment, only eleven out of 143 pupils achieved a C grade and above, at GCSE level. They had taken their exams in January and the results where dreadful.
    Strategies: Master Class for revision.(All pupils in main hall for revision, staff to pupil ratio 3:143).
    This was initiated by context of memory research, Godden and Baddeley (1975). Those who recall in the same environment as that in which they learned, recalled 40% more, than those who recall in a different environment.[Master Class Revision in Main Hall, examinations in Main Hall].
    Target and Review sheets in every pupils exercise books and reviews ever week, analyse and correct.
    Outcome: GCSE results, C or > than C, eighteen month period: 17.1% to 30.9% (% increase, 80.7%).
    Quite significant, hope this helps.
    travelwings and grumpydogwoman like this.
  7. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    You're getting good advice on here. You need to know well in advance what your final aims are, ie the final outcome of your teaching during this time, and then, work out your scheme of work so that week by week and day by day you are covering the ground with time for revision along the way. I don't know what level you are teaching, but this is the basis for any teaching.
  8. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    I moved at Christmas to become head of Biz Studies. Actually just me!
    You obviously need a fast start and need to think about how to get the groups working with you. Apart from that I found it went well. Often the person you will replace has either been off sick or has had enough, so you may be replacing a string of supply teachers. In that case make sure the pupils understand that you are permanent, tell them so, otherwise they will assume you are another supply teacher drifting thorough their lives.
    Provided you have reasonable experience yourself, in some ways it is easier than a September start where you have to set everything up from scratch without knowing the routines. My school was fair about expectations, so I actually got an extended run in to a new start in September. Any dodgy classes were only mine for a limited time, Year 11 tend to disappear for trips, exams etc etc.
    If you have coursework of course, there can be major issues to sort very very quickly!
    esther30 and BYusuf like this.

    WOMANONAMISSION50 New commenter

    indeed starting in the January term can be quite a daunting tasks especially if you are unfamiliar with the syllabus being covered, however ,teachers who are seasoned and really love their jobs would have done some leg work in the December (hopefully having been provided with the classes they are going to teach) and so ca and will do extremely well in getting the students adequately prepared for those external exams.
    BYusuf likes this.
  10. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, hammie.

    You raised a really key point about the importance of reassuring students that you are permanent and not just drifting through their lives.

    This will definitely help to quickly establish yourself with the students.

    One point though. As a HoD starting in a new school, one could find themselves in a situation where, due to a wide variety of reasons, there are few departmental routines in place...

    So it would be a matter of urgency to simultaneously focus upon the priorities of safeguarding exam results as well as building systems to ensure the department runs well.
  11. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, WOMANONAMISSION50.

    You are right in saying that early preparation in December with all the necessary information about the syllabus, groups being taught etc., will help with a January start.
  12. dog_walker

    dog_walker New commenter

    Really good post and covered things I didn't think about, which can only help me with interviews...

    Thanks :)
    BYusuf likes this.
  13. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Thank you dog_walker.

    All the best with future interviews :)
  14. missmunchie

    missmunchie Occasional commenter

    I left my previous school in the holidays to start a new job at another school in January. I have found this thread and the other one about reasons for leaving really helpful.
    The major thing I found I had to deal with was the GUILT at leaving students, especially those in exam groups. This lead to an anxious time over Christmas. By New Year I was feeling more positive and was looking forward to starting my new job. I have been there for two weeks now and things are going well. The older students are doing mock exams so my timetable is lighter atm. Marking the mock exams is a very useful way to see the students levels and of course, you can be really impartial. I was lucky that I was able to do a handover with the previous teacher who is staying on at the school in a support role. They have been a great help to me.
    Overall, I am sure I have made the right choice to move schools mid-year even though this was a tough decision to make. My responsibilities are less, my teaching is more focussed on the subjects I love and my work-life balance will improve. I feel appreciated by management and more importantly, supported by them.

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