Congratulations! You’ve worked hard and are ready to start your teaching career. It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking to start your induction period, so we have a few tips to help you to make the most of it.
When you start your new teaching position, you’ll quickly discover that there’s still a lot to learn, but there is no shame in that. The main purpose of your induction period is to encourage growth as a teacher and help you build the confidence you need for the rest of your career.
Take advantage of all the great, experienced teachers around you. Don’t be afraid to speak to your appointed mentors, or other colleagues, when you have questions or need advice. Every teacher started as an ECT, so they will understand how daunting it is. Remember, they were once in your position and soon enough you will be imparting wisdom to ECTs too!
Nobody said teaching was easy. Teachers work tirelessly to educate and make learning enjoyable for their students.
Although the work is tough, it’s also rewarding. Keeping a positive mindset produces successful lessons and reflects on your students’ engagement.
On the more challenging days, remember why you decided to teach and think back to your favourite moments so far. Write them down as you go along so that you can reflect and remember the bigger picture when you’re struggling. Also, keep in mind that the harder days will help your development as a teacher in the long run.
Over time you will learn your limits and when you need to take a step back to renew your positivity. This brings us to our next point.
Look after yourself
To make the most of your teaching career, you need to take care of yourself. The nature of your job means that there is always something to do and it can be difficult to take a break. Many teachers experience burnout from over-working themselves. To prevent this, you should practice prioritising your tasks and remember that it’s okay if you do not clear your entire to-do list in a day.
Find a support network, whether that be friends from your Initial Teacher Training, or family who are not involved in education. Have interests to take your mind off of school so that you can take time to reset and give it your all when the time comes.
Read our blog on Mindfulness in the classroom for more tips on self-care and creating a positive, balanced learning environment.
Set out your expectations
Confidence is key when you first step into a classroom. Although you might feel nervous, you need to show your class that you can take control. Start by setting out expectations for the year and make sure you stick to them. This does not necessarily mean ‘class rules’ but more about expectations for learning and behaviour.
Getting the class involved and allowing them to mention expectations they have of you as a teacher, can help build a sense of mutual trust and respect between you; many students will value the fact that you’re providing them with independence. This also works as a positive introductory activity, helping you get to know one another.
Know your students
Every student is different and you should take the time to learn more about each individual. Pupils will appreciate it when you take the time to learn their names and it will help your lessons flow when you need to address them.
This also means that you should consider the needs of all of your students, adapting your lessons so that they are accessible to all. Prepare tasks for students who may finish early, so that they have something to do, and create different levels of difficulty if you’re teaching a diverse range of skill levels.
You’re allowed to make mistakes
Whilst teachers are superheroes, it’s important to remember that you’re only human.
Mistakes are part of the learning process and what is most important is how you handle them. Make sure to take accountability and reflect on how you can improve. Take mistakes as a positive experience and remember that you cannot grow without them.
Overall, your induction period is a time to develop your skills as a teacher. Have fun and make the most of your time because you will find yourself using your knowledge in other teaching positions for years to come.