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Starting probation year...

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by tastytortilla, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. expresslts

    expresslts New commenter

    Hi folks,

    I recently graduated with my PGDE in MFL (Spanish and French) and will start my probation year on the 16th of August. Feeling excited and nervous at the same time. Does anyone have tips as to what I should do during my first lesson or two with my new classes?

    Any advice at all would be much appreciated :D

    Thanks in advance,

  2. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    Have you been given your department's SoW for each year group you will be teaching? Obviously what you do in the first couple of lessons will depend a lot on what is on the SoW.

    I do a very brief run-through of my expectations (on a powerpoint slide, not negotiable), but don't do the admin stuff of handing books out straight away. I feel that creates opportunities for faffing around and time-wasting so I leave it until we've done something else first. So the first part of the lesson is speaking/listening/worksheet/quiz on scrap paper, then I hand the books out and go through presentation expectations, getting names written on the front etc, later in the lesson when I actually need them to write something.

    With Y7, I always do classroom instructions for the first lesson.

    With Y8 I start with a bit of a quiz/test on things they should have covered in Y7 (easier when you've already taught the Y7 SoW so are clearer on what you expect them to know). I then hand exercise books out, remind them of expectations for presentation, and get them to do "start of term reflections", where they write about what they enjoyed last year, what they are good at, and what they think they will need most help with. I mark their books ASAP because it's quick and easy to mark when there's virtually nothing in there.

    With Y9 I start with "the infinitives challenge" - basically I give them a massive list of infinitives and get them to fill in the English for as many as possible from memory, then use a dictionary to fill the gaps. Our first topic is future plans so it leads nicely into using aller + infintive and means they all have a good list of infinitives stuck in the front of their books to refer to throughout the topic.

    With Y10 and 11 we get straight on with the SoW, but I'll try to pick something fairly accessible which reuses familiar and basic vocabulary, to ease them in a bit after the break.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Excellent advice there from @Myrtille and she has covered much what I myself might have said.

    Just one addition, do not fall into the trap of wasting time 'trying to get to know your classes'. You will do this via 'ordinary lessons' easy enough and you will then set a good work ethic for the future.
    gregarmstrong1 likes this.
  4. lifereallyistooshort

    lifereallyistooshort New commenter

    Good advice above. I agree about not faffing at the outset. Set the tone - get started on "real" lessons - have a seating plan and start setting homework. As a new teacher, you've got to get yourself established. Doesn't mean you can't also have fun and enjoy your teaching but err on the side of strict at the start of your career. You can always ease up a bit once you have got the class eating out of your hand.... It's much harder to claw back control if you get off on the wrong foot. Good luck!
    gregarmstrong1 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  5. expresslts

    expresslts New commenter

    Guys I'm sorry for not thanking you before! I read these posts and were certainly helpful! I did classroom language with the 1st years (Y7?) and a bit of reflection work with the next level up.

    Thanks again!

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