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Essential Items for English Teachers.

Discussion in 'English' started by Joeyriles, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Joeyriles

    Joeyriles New commenter

    Hi all, about to embark on my English PGCE in September. I'm aware of all the mental resilience/fortitude I'm going to need, but does anyone who has been in the game for a while have a top one or two essential items that they couldn't do without?

    Got some box files, and Gin...any other pointers?
  2. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    Sets of folders in different colours. A filing system. A memory stick or two. A Dropbox account or similar. A couple of nice pens that you like writing with, but can afford to lose. Sturdy bag or briefcase with sections. Fold up bags to go in main bag. A working knowledge of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Access to a laminator is useful. A planner (often supplied by placement school). Ready meals (bought or home cooked) in the freezer. A clean and tidy house (if it's not clean and tidy before you start your PGCE ...) and space to store bags and boxes of files and books.
  3. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Membership of NATE
    A copy of The Full English
    More gin :)
  4. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    NATE membership and anything else you can find you support yourself.

    I recommend whiskey...
  5. A ******** detector!

  6. I like this thread!

    Regarding folders, how many will we need for the PGCE year? People keep saying lots but I was wondering how many roughly is lots? Doing my big stationery shop soon - so excited! :)
  7. A sense of humour!
  8. jag79

    jag79 New commenter

    Lots of coffee. Or pro-plus. Or both.
  9. Lots of teen fiction borrowed from the library or bought in for purposes of research. Most schools teach the same sorts of books: Holes by Louis Sachar, Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, Skellig by David Almond, Stone Cold by Robert Swindells, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, copies of the most used Shakespeare texts so you can annotate at home.
    Highlighter pens to highlight above texts.
    A big notebook for all the many, many things you'll be told to remember and you instantly forget!
    A nice mug for work (it's not 100% necessary but it helps you to feel like one of the staff, especially when some irritating person wanders off with it and you have nothing to drink from)!
    Kalms (I'd recommend Valium or Prozac but Kalms are probably slightly less addictive...).
    Lots and lots of pens. As a PGCE student, you will be the 'go to' person for all and sundry to "just borrow your pen for a second?" - you will NEVER get them back so buy in bulk.
    Don't bother with box files. Get lever arch files and plastic wallets - makes things much easier to see.
    Pen drives x a lot. Save as much as possible onto these so you don't end up with paper taking over the house.
    If you're in a relationship, sit down with your partner and explain that they won't see you for the next 2 years (PGCE & NQT) but you still love them and look forward to a date in 2014/15 ish.
    Set up a working corner of the house which has: a table to mark at, a comfortable chair, empty lever arch folders, your pencil case (keep a separate one at home so you don't take it out of your school bag in the evenings and then forget to put it back in - most annoying), copy of school policies and texts and a coaster for the enormous glass of wine/G&T/vodka/beer/all 4 at once. Try to keep this corner tidy and organised because your house is going to be a dump until you finish your NQT year!
    It's very hard work, but it's a worthwhile, amazing job when it all goes right. I love working with my pupils - they're wonderful - and I'm lucky enough to have a great department around me. Try to keep your positivity and enthusiasm up even when things are going a bit pear-shaped cause this helps LOADS.
    Good luck!
  10. KStreet - amazing post, I'm making a list from it now! Many thanks! :)
  11. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Forget pen drives; dropbox is the answer to all your storage and transport needs.
    Countless are the times when I have had students and trainee teachers sobbing about the fact that they've dropped/lost/left/got a virus on the pendrive. Dropbox makes that an irrelevant issue.

  12. A pen that you love. You will be marking lots of books so you might as well use a nice pen. A box of tissues - it's amazing what excuses to leave a classroom can be avoided at the provision of a tissue. Spare pens, pencils, erasers, rules etc and something nice to carry them all about in. You'll be in several different teaching rooms each day so it's best to have your own 'spare equipment' box rather than pinching it from grumpy old teachers. A nice/smart bag - if you look the part/organised/professional the students will believe that you are a teacher. A smile. Highlighters/polywallets/folders etc for yourself. Get your resources organised from the start and keep them organised. I'd get a planner yourself - most schools are seeing budgets getting even tighter so might not provide you with one. some schools even believe that your Uni should provide you with one(!) Find out the tea/coffee/cup situation in your staffroom, you don't want to rub them up the wrong way. Take in the occasional packet of biscuits but don't go overboard, cheap value biscuits are fine. Enjoy it. It's the best job in the world. :) Oh and most important of all a 'things to do' book where you can note down all of your 'things to do'. Get a really groovy one.
  13. A subscription to EnglishEdu for all your SOW, resources and CPD.


    And biscuits.
  14. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I wouldn't since you're unlikely to use it. Trainees use the uni's planning proforma and the rest of us have a lesson plan format to follow. It's a waste of money.

  15. Joeyriles

    Joeyriles New commenter

    Thank you, everyone! The nerves are starting to jangle as I only have 7 weeks until I start.
    Interesting point regarding the relationship; am worried that my partner (who doesn't live with me) might start getting antsy that I'm going to be busy more often than not. We'll see!
  16. You'll be absolutely fine, I'm sure. But you will need support from your partner, as you will be working hard. No ifs or buts or maybes - your PGCE year will involve long hours and hard hard work. Teaching's a very tiring job at the best of times and you'll be doing research projects or essays, reading, Uni assignments etc as well as observing, learning, teaching and attending meetings. Can you make a 'date night' where once a week your force yourself to have a night off and meet up with your partner instead? That's what I did during my PGCE year and we're now married with 3 children!
  17. Tip? Patience, staying calm and getting used to having eyes at the back of your head. :)
  18. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    As I'm a very elderly Dragon with 37 years before the chalk face, I'd also recomment confortable shoes. It doesn't matter if you're male or female, 21 or 50, you'll find yourself on your feet far more than you expect and there's nothing worse than sore feet (unless it's toothache!!)
    I love all the advice for folders etc as I'm a bit of a stationery nut-I just LOVE buying new stuff!! Each year I told myself that I couldn't possibly teach effectively without...................................
    Even at my grand old age, I'm starting a new job in September and have bought a fab bright red leather briefcase! [​IMG]
    The only other advice I would give is if you are buying plastic folder thingies that go into a ring binder-you know the ones- buying cheap can be false economy. Get the thicker, slightly more expensive ones as they will last.
    Would it be old fashioned of me to suggest a good dictionary? I always have one on my desk or available in my bag. If a student asks for a spelling, 'we' work out the first three letters and then I give them the dictionary to find the rest. Obviously, if they are struggling, I give more help but I always tell the kids that I'm their teacher, not a dictionary in a skirt!! [​IMG]

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