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Trainee teacher must haves(36 Posts)
My dd is starting her teacher training this year. What does she need to do/know/buy beforehand that will make life easier for her when she first starts? Are there any books or websites etc?
What will she be teaching?
She will need a decent laptop, a decent printer, lots of printer paper, lots of ink.
Stationery. Folders, polypockets, post-its and so on. A full pencil case. A nice school bag.
Sleep and wine. A lot of coffee. Lovely stationery. Comfortable shoes.
Optional extras (secondary) - notebooks (A4 for desk and A5 for meetings) with post-its (if it's all in school, they'll have them there), a strong but lightweight bag big enough for folders and exercise books. Some lightweight fold up bags for occasional use. A high capacity memory stick or hard drive.
Most stationery can be picked up from school, but I like 'nice' marking pens because if I write with a biro, my writing's awful. Plastic popper folders for A4 sheets in different colours - again available from school. For years, I've put everything for Y9 in green folders, Y10 blue, Y11 pink etc. Makes it easier to find stuff.
So, basically, wait until school for most stationery, but get some essentials.
A thick skin, an iron will to keep going when it gets tough, which it will, and the ability to survive with very little sleep.
Also lots of pretty stationery.
School providing stationery for a trainee??! Many don't provide it for their salaried teachers!!
Dry wipe pens
Decent stapler with staples
Costa / Starbucks giftcard
Lots of paper
Lots of pens
Stickers (if primary)
Good memory stick or harddrive
Cup with a lid for hot drinks
NQT subject knowledge books are fab for primary
It can be incredibly stressful when on placement and assignments and observations at the same time. Lots of support, love and meals.
Personal laminator as often teachers get possessive over theirs- Wilkinson does a good one that's super cheap.
A bladder the size of an ox.
Sense of humour.
Rest optional though a whiteboard narker helps most days
Nice water bottle and coffee travel mug (our local Tesco were selling off Contigo ones half price the other week which is worth a look as they're pricey but seriously worth it) and I'll also repeat the piece of advice I was given by a mentor when I did my training... get a nice pair of adult sized scissors and guard them jealously because cutting out endless things with kid classroom scissors is shit.
If primary - a good whistle on a lanyard for when they need to do PE/yard duty.
Her own laminator will be a godsend. Much easier to be able to sit at home and laminate rather than try to fit it in at school.
Take her own whiteboard pens. Some teachers have less of a supply than others, and it looks better that you aren't fumbling for a set of pens. Don't buy cheap ones, they don't last.
I second the advice for really good pair of scissors.
A stopwatch is one of my most used items. Some schools have rules about phones being used, even for just timing, so a separate one is great. You can do a lot with different activities with them.
A nice notebook for attending professional development meetings and making notes. Also a notebook to write notes as they occur. She'll be told 100 different things in a day, and it's really handy at the end of the day to make sure you've done everything you've been asked, or that you have said you will do. Writing notes about student issues, etc.
A good water bottle. Try and buy a personalised one so everyone knows who it belongs to.
A good whistle, definitely. Don’t share!
If secondary, a collection of 35 scruffy, nasty, broken but usable pencils and pens, for handing out to pupils. They soon ‘find’ their own pens if you give them a scruffy one.
A ‘cool bag’ because lunches disappear from staffroom fridges.
A stapler - no-one will lend her theirs.
One thing I found helpful over the years was a print out given to me by a colleague, which said ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down’.
Might get flamed for this... but if she's primary a twinkle.com subscription. Mainly for display stuff and templates for things.
Twinkl not twinkle, phone autocorrected
I actually really like these in place of traditional whistles. It means you can put a student onto whistle duty if needed.
I'm amazed that schools don't provide stationery - in 20+ years in different schools, I've never bought whiteboard pens, post-its etc.
Yes to the Contigo or similar flasks for hot drinks and a good water bottle.
For a fiver in Aldi/Lidl or on ebay, you can buy an A5 personal paper trimmer - I use mine most days for ad hoc paper trimming although I use the office one when I'm trimming a set of handouts. I have an A4 one for home.
These suggestions are great! I hadn’t Ben thought of most of them, am making a list and will pick her some things up.
I am a trainee mentor and I would say a laptop and printer are the most important items.
Some of this depends on the type and size of school, as it's different having your own locker and staying more or less in one place to having to go across a huge site in the pissing rain nine times a day. And whether she has a car.
Her own set of whiteboard pens, pencils, sharpener, ruler, glue sticks (they dry out very quickly, get Pritt Stik and keep it at home or in her handbag at all times), decent biros in different colours, nice notebooks, A4 pad, good scissors (do not lend or leave on a desk), Post it notes (square size), sellotape, highlighters, a good stapler and three boxes of staples (write the type/size on a label and stick it to the underside and write her name on another and wrap it round the top of the thing) and a foolscap boxfile for keeping these things in
and hidden without having to rummage around in the depths of her bag.
A bag that fits an A4/Foolscap Boxfile and can be slung over her shoulder whilst carrying 30 other things through doors that are always annoyingly closed.
A laptop bag that is padded and can be slung over the other shoulder.
A really good carabina and keyring loops for the thousand different keys she'll end up with, her door entry card (label it with her name), her ID card and NEVER put them down.
A box of Avery L7161 or L7162 labels. Keep well hidden/only carry a couple of sheets in the boxfile.
A personal A4 papercutter and laminator. Don't bring them in, or they will be 'borrowed'
and most likely broken if they ever find their way back to her
Cushioned insoles. And blister plasters. And shoes that are cushioned, well fitting, supportive and polishable. Spare tights in a high denier or packets of popsocks (bare feet in shoes can get rather sweaty when the caretaker turns the heating on three days into icy, wet weather but then takes over a fortnight to switch it off once the heatwave starts two days afterwards). A bar of soap/travel size wash is good for a quick freshen up.
A large diary. Things might be done by Outlook, but it's a lot easier to remember things if you write them out yourself as well.
An insulated water bottle with a carabina so it can be attached to her bag.
A smart blazer for the inevitable 'need to look smart for this unannounced visitor' moments.
An easily managed hairstyle/bands.
A can of dry shampoo, a spare brush and a lipgloss to be used when it's got quite frenetic and she needs to just reset.
Antibacterial hand gel. A handkerchief. Box of tissues. Spare sanitary protection. Paracetamol. Nail file.
Any particular herbal teabags, tea or coffee she likes - don't rely upon what's in the staffroom or leave any of it in there. An insulated lunchbag and box. Her own non dairy milk if she uses it. High Protein Snack bars. Emergency chocolate. Multivitamins and extra Vitamin D. Sunblock Moisturiser to go on each morning, just in case she finds herself on playground duty in an unexpectedly sunny half hour.
A warm, waterproof, midlength coat with hood for playground duty/fire drills/alarms. An umbrella to keep only for work in a locker/the car. A good, warm scarf and gloves.
A spare charger and two long USB leads for her phone.
If she has her own mug, as with almost everything else, it will be used by somebody else and disappear.
Not every school has the money to provide everything she needs - and places like that always mean some staff develop a fluid approach to the concept of private property, never mind the students.
ALWAYS set up a track my phone/laptop app and use a code lock. NEVER leave your bag unattended, thinking it'll be alright.
The mindset that it's supposed to be hard for the first couple of years and it will feel too much at times, but that's when any plans for selfcare prove their worth - holidays/weekends away, a perfectly clean home to come in to, bubble baths, a life outside school. Always maintain a life outside school, even if it's just a rule that one day each week involves spending 30 mins outside.
What she really needs (if Primary) are some decent resource subscriptions.
An old coat and a golf umbrella to leave in school for the days she's forgotten she is on playground duty.
Post it notes. Highlighters. Decent pen for marking.
Tights/paracetamol/tampons etc to keep in school for emergencies.
Is it primary or secondary? Secondary schools often have a staffed resource room that will do laminating etc for you so no need to buy one.
The patience of a saint, and a lot of stamina.
Some really nice chocolate to stash somewhere for when she has a bad day & a nice mug. I'm 10 years in & still class this as essential kit 🤣
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