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What do you wish you knew in your first year of teaching that you know now?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by freckles88, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. Any advice or tips that you wish you knew when you first started teaching?
  2. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    While cultivating a good relationship with teaching colleagues is important, never underestimate the worth of non-teaching staff including the site agent, dinner ladies and cleaners.
    Cleaners, in particular, are at the heart of the local community. Indeed, some may be parents of the children you teach. If you treat them right with courtesy and friendship, they will laud your good name within the community. In the minds of many parents, if Mrs Washbucket thinks you are an okay teacher, then an okay teacher you must be. And she should know - after all, she cleans your classroom!!
  3. dont upset the person you share a cupboard with
  4. FenellaF

    FenellaF New commenter

    Defo make friends with the secretary! She saves my **** no end when I have run out of stuff, need to ring someone, etc. She's a superstar.
  5. manic28

    manic28 New commenter

    I agree with Fenella...but the other main person to befriend is the caretaker. In school early/particularly late...you need them on side! Also the cook can be a useful person to know. Two lovely home made mince pies today. Yum.

    Also don't say testicals when meaning to say tenticles during a Science lesson.
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Also don't write testicals when meaning to write testicles, or tenticles when meaning to write tentacles, eh?
  7. I qualified 20 years ago.
    I wish I'd appreciated the job more then - as it 100% different now.
    Also - your best friend is your cleaner!
  8. learn how to switch off![​IMG]
  9. poet

    poet New commenter

    Don't say vibrator when you mean vibrate
    Always buy a little gift/card for the caretaker/secretary/cook at the end of year/xmas whenever it's appropriate- they often get forgotten and it will make your job easier.
    Our job is amazing and we're lucky to do something so fab - remember this when ofsted turn up, when SLT start talking about data instead of children and when you feel like if you have to teach the kids how to do something you've already taught them 10000 times one more time you'll cry
    It does get easier - you'll have a life at some point. Try not to take EVERYTHING home.
    Don't stay in a job where you're not appreciated, there are lovely schools and lovely heads out there and they'll be thankful to have you
    I think that's all for now [​IMG]
  10. When everyone starts falling out and getting het up over the Nativity, hide!

    Actually I wish someone had reminded me of that today.
  11. I wish I knew how to teach reading and spelling.
    I was middle school trained and in my first year, I had two pupils in my class who could not read and write. I thought they were unteachable by Year Six because otherwise, how come all their previous teachers had not managed to teach them?
    I know different now - and have taught many children to read and spell who have reached Year Five and Six with unbelievably low reading and writing levels (and handwriting).
    Those two children, in particular, haunt me - and I often wonder how they have fared.[​IMG]

  12. Focus on the postitives, which will be immensely greater in number, than the odd ones that got away!

  13. How to say "no....sorry but I don't have the time to do that."
  14. Come to terms with the fact that there will always be something to do no matter how organised you are!
    Never forget that you are there for your kids, don't let them suffer when you have APP, marking, break duty, resources to make etc etc. When your in the room with them BE in the room!
  15. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I'm afraid I'm more cynical. Things to remember are that no-one sees or values all that terrific work you do in the classroom inspiring and nurturing your classes. Instead they see things that can be written down on paper: grades, percentages, initiatives, the lot. It is a research issue in education - quantitative data has assumed empirical superiority over qualitative data. So basic rules apply - always ensure when you are doing stuff that you write it down so that at the end of the year it can be collated into a 'plan' and a 'series of data into action initiatives'.
    To finish on a positive note, years later all that qualitative stuff will come back in the form of students and parents who accost you with delirious happiness and hold you up for a minute to tell you how much they liked your lessons and how well they are doing. (Well, the parents tell you about the kid, not about your lessons though it is really worrying when the ex-students start showing you their new family and you realise you are getting older.)
  16. Total rubbish. Either:
    1) That's your experience, and it's the truth, which means every head/SLT you've had are diabolical... but in which case why haven't you moved?
    2) you're too short sighted to see the value in those things
    3) you're oblivious to the things that the head/SLT really notice.

    I'm yet to meet a head or SLT member who doesn't recognise the intangible or unmeasurable aspects you mention. Maybe it's not always communicated but Im sure youre not insecure enough to need constant pats on the back.

    Getting back to the thread...
    Those pupils you go home stressing about, the ones that cause you headaches in class and cause the issues, they DON'T go home thinking about you. Most enlightening moment I've had was when I realised that ultimately their decisions are theirs and while I may be able to have an influence, sometimes you just have to give them as much consideration outside the classroom as they give you, ie none whatsoever. (... Obviously I'm not saying disrespect/ignore or not plan for them, just don't make it an emotional response).
  17. The best piece of advice i was given was actually a bag. A much olde, wiser colleague in my final teaching practice gave me a fairly large long life bag and told me that no matter what needed doing, only that bag and anything that fit inside went home each evening or weekend.
    I have done my best and stuck to this rule fairly religiously - the few times i have filled a box for home i have ended up feeling completely overwhelmed!! The bag makes me prioritise what needs doing that evening, and gives me the opportunity to organise my workload. It holds a full set of books, or an assessment file, so its not exactly limiting, just a good organisational tool!
    I would recommend one to anyone out there!!
  18. The best thing I can advise new teachers to do is take along cookies to the meetings. Never mind if half your group is on a diet....
  19. I know that feeling, I live in Tasmania - Australia and have taught many age groups. For the last two and a half years I taught a group of students who mostly are very talented in every way you would hope. But there has been one student who has struggled to read, write, spell and in fact to achieve in all subjects. He has been diagnosed with ADD but is not medicated (I'm not a great believer in this anyway). Lots of tests later, we have diagnosed him with short term memory problems (long term memory excellent) and processing problems. We have tried everything but not getting far with him. So my question is what do you do that obviously worked?
  20. Don't see every incident, lesson or interaction as a judgement on your entire ability as a teacher;. Everyone has good moments and bad moments and if you let each moment take on too much significance it'll stress you out and you'll see everything as a personal judgement. That could stop you from dealing with things calmly and rationally.

    Loic Menzies - www.lkmconsulting.co.uk

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