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Want to make a good impression...

(26 Posts)
faithinthesound Wed 12-Apr-17 09:03:22

I'm currently training to become a primary school teacher and in just under a month, I'll be starting my first placement. Our lecturers have told us that as long as we follow the steps, we'll be fine, and that it's not that hard to pass this placement, but I can't shake this apprehension. I really want to do well!

One thing our lecturer stressed to us today is that nine times out of ten, if a placement is failed, it's down to the professional relationships (or lack thereof) that the training teacher has made (or failed to make) with their associate teacher/other staff/principal/parents and guardians/the children etc.

I'd love to ask, if there are any teachers here who have overseen training teachers before, is there any advice you can give me? Is there anything you love brand new student teachers to do, or anything you cringe when they do? Are there any dealbreakers for you?

I am taking my training and this placement very seriously and just looking for a little bit more guidance from the perspective of the existing classroom teacher, is all!

OP’s posts: |
Boiled7Up Wed 12-Apr-17 13:48:46

- phone the school in advance, introduce yourself and try to arrange a visit
- come prepared with dates of tutor visits, paperwork submission etc
- bring your own cup but offer to pay tea money
- watch the class teacher and follow his/her lead
- take all advice on board
- don't get personally offended if you are given constructive criticism
- take ideas from Pinterest/Facebook but take them with a large pinch of salt
- don't hype the kids up if you don't know how to calm them down

You will catch the worst cold of your life and have at least one horrific day. That is normal.

You sound like a hard grafter- you'll be absolutely fine.

AnneWithAnEShirley Wed 12-Apr-17 19:51:53

With parents (I am one!) being pleasant, warm (but not familiar) and listening to what they say - will all go a long way.

Handbaghag Wed 12-Apr-17 19:52:57

Take cakes for the department! Always a winner!

faithinthesound Wed 12-Apr-17 20:08:59

I emailed, rather than called. That was on the advice of my lecturer, who said that if you call, you can't expect to get them any time but lunchtime since they're, you know, teaching! And I wouldn't want to be fielding calls on my lunch hour if I knew the person knew better.

So I emailed and said things like I'd been lucky enough to be placed in their school, in their classroom, and that I was looking forward to meeting them and learning from them. I also said that my college requires a pre-placement visit, but left the ball in their court regarding when that would be (I asked what would work for them, and said I would work around their schedules).

I'm meeting them this afternoon, just for an hour's chat, so I don't think cups and cakes and such are necessary JUST yet, but perhaps on my first actual day!

OP’s posts: |
SweepTheHalls Wed 12-Apr-17 20:11:06

Do meet their deadlines for submission of planning. My current batch of trainees are not doing this and I am tearing my hair out!

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 20:21:14

Don't come in and tell them how to teach

Don't leave emailing your lesson plans till 10pm then expect immediate feedback

Do mark the kids' books

Don't say you're only in it for the bursary and have no intention of becoming a teacher

Do act on feedback given

From experience!

LottieDoubtie Wed 12-Apr-17 20:45:09

Don't come in and announce loudly in the staff room that you are only in it to become a head because you like to manage staff.

Don't offer opinions about things that you are badly informed about- especially not loudly in the kind of patronising voice that suggests you are the font of all knowledge.

we've got some crackers in at the moment

So actually apart from that, the main advice is be a normal, respectful, human being. Remember you're their to learn, try to make the teachers around you life easier- if you are doing that they will help you more. Always (and I do mean always) be nice to support staff/caretakers/cleaners/lunchtime supervisors etc...

LottieDoubtie Wed 12-Apr-17 20:46:03

Ouch don't worry about my grammar I've sacked myself. shock

faithinthesound Wed 12-Apr-17 20:48:53

Oh I have a long standing personal policy to be exceedingly polite and friendly to admin/reception/support staff that has nothing to do with teaching - it's just common sense! Everyone knows they're the nuts and bolts without which the whole shebang just falls to pieces, right??

I've been made very aware during the beginning of this course that I'm a yes ma'am/no sir sort of person, which is something that was drummed into me as a child and not always something I notice until it's pointed out to me. I always think, better to be "too" polite than not polite enough, right? But then I worry it will come across as smarmy or greasy.

OP’s posts: |
faithinthesound Wed 12-Apr-17 20:49:50

I wasn't going to mention it since previous advice on this thread has been NOT to come in and tell them how to teach. See? I'm acting on feedback already! ;)

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Wed 12-Apr-17 21:11:13

Make sure you make yourself available before school / after school. Mentoring a student can be a pleasure, but it can also be a lot of extra work. If the student isn't prepared to be at school to have those regular conversations / get support with planning / be shown where resources are / help tidy up the classroom etc., then it is the start of a very difficult relationship.

Also, when the teacher isn't in the room / gets caught elsewhere (perhaps by a parent or gets called to phone after school or something) just get on with all those jobs that constantly need doing - sharpening the pencils, tidying the bookcase, whatever. Anything that you can do to help.

I've never worked in a school where there is a mug shortage - it's a 'stock present' for teachers at the end of the year. I really wouldn't bother taking your own mug, but do offer to pay into the tea fund, and do wash up after yourself.

LottieDoubtie Wed 12-Apr-17 21:12:26

Ha! Good start!

Yes m'am no m'am is good as a starting point. But, don't worry about asking questions and getting involved in more challenging stuff as time progresses.

Helbelle75 Wed 12-Apr-17 21:23:54

Lots of good advice here.

Make sure you turn up on time and don't shoot off at the end of the day.

When observing lessson, make sure you're focused and taking notes, use opportunities to get involved with the cildren if appropriate. Ask if there is anything the teacher would like help with.

Take advice on board graciously. I was once told that the particular trainee wanted to make her own mistakes so basically ignored anything I said...

Appreciate how much time and and energy it takes to mentor someone. And also if you're observing others, appreciate they may have planned a session especially.

I'm sure all of these are basic common sense and you'll be great, but these have been past experiences of mine.

SuperPug Wed 12-Apr-17 21:30:26

Keep some semblance of a social life. This is the hardest year, in many ways.
Be prepared for a complete mixture of people, from the overly friendly to the more cautious.
I probably wouldn't make the nuts and bolts comment to anyone at the school. Everyone keeps it together and primary teachers work unbelievably hard. I'm secondary and I think it would be far more stressful in many ways.
Accept constructive criticism but don't accept any forms of bullying. This does happen unfortunately.

faithinthesound Wed 12-Apr-17 21:45:50

I have a part time job that starts at five on a Friday. Do you think it will be okay to mention that, and say I'm happy to stay as late as they need me Monday through Thursday but that I need to leave by four on Friday? School is over at three so that's still an hour after school if they need me to do work.

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 21:52:54

I have a part time job that starts at five on a Friday.

Unless it's very few hours weekly, I can't see how it would be feasible to keep this up.

faithinthesound Wed 12-Apr-17 21:57:44

I have grown attached to eating and having a roof over my head, so giving it up will not be an option at this stage.

It's four hours on a Friday night, and eight hours on a Saturday.

OP’s posts: |
Emphasise Wed 12-Apr-17 21:58:32

Based on things our last student got badly wrong:

- Always have a pen and paper in meetings
- Spend at least some time in the staffroom, even if keeping yourself to yourself comes more naturally to you.

Primaryteach87 Wed 12-Apr-17 22:05:15

Gosh this takes me back! I had one amazing and kind mentor... and who was downright evil (horrid to me and verging on abusive to the kids!). Such a lottery!

I've now mentored two trainees myself. My advice is to read the personality of your mentor. Some like to discuss things and review things in advance, others are happier for you to try things out.

Also, try if you can to match your mentors working pattern. So if they arrive early and leave early - do that.

Oh and when my mentee brought me tea quite frequently it was totally not expected or required but I did love her for it (and was suitably gushing in my thanks!).

QueenieGoldstein Wed 12-Apr-17 22:05:24

Listen, listen and listen again.

Don't be afraid to ask for stuff to be repeated if you don't understand as we tend to forget what it's like being a trainee and take a LOT of stuff for granted!

Try and got in with the school's way of working so for example we don't have to submit our planning in advance but do use a planning format across the school so if cover is needed everyone knows the system.

Find out as early as possible about how the school sets work for differentiation, what curriculum do they follow for foundation subjects (we use IPC) and familiarise yourself with as many plans/schemes as you can.

Watch closely and get involved with the children in your first few days. Get to know the children and try to learn names quickly as it gives off the impression you're invested in the class.

Read up on the school's behaviour and safeguarding policies plus any reporting system they use for these. Make sure you get any log ins as quickly as possible especially if they use an online based SG reporting system such as Tootoot.

Most of all know that you will be utterly shattered after your first week so leave that weekend for rest and reflection.

Best of luck.

Primaryteach87 Wed 12-Apr-17 22:07:05

PS I also worked every Saturday during my PGCE up until around March. I would say it's possible but v v v difficult.

MollyHuaCha Wed 12-Apr-17 22:08:57

You sound as though you'll be a lovely teacher. To the tips list I wd add dress the part. Dress like a teacher who is heading for the top. If you dress smartly and possibly a little older than your years (if you are less than 25), you will instantly gain respect from the children before you do anything at all. No visible tattoos, only conservative ear piercings, no high fashion, short skirt or low top. Instead maybe invest in a smart trouser suit. Enjoy your placement smile

Boiled7Up Wed 12-Apr-17 23:58:28

Trouser suit in no way necessary. Maybe in secondary. Clean and appropriate will do.

I always push my students out the door at 3.15 on a Friday! BUT you then have to work later Wednesdays/Thursdays to prep for the next week.

I remember one spectacular first placement student who thought she was entitled to PPA time- she was teaching 1 lesson a week.....

Charmatt Thu 13-Apr-17 00:39:19

Ask for acronyms to be explained, always act on advice and take your turn in cleaning up the staff room. .....and smile even if you are knackered and ill and don't take your problems to work!

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