In my role as Trainee Teacher Segment Manager, I support trainees with their teacher training on a daily basis. I have often been asked what my top tips would be for anyone who is training to teach. I could give many many tips for feeling confident in the classroom, but I’ve decided to condense this down to my top five.
1. Be aware of your own limits and know what stress looks like for you
As a trainee teacher you will likely be extremely passionate and driven about educating children to the best of your ability. You may well already have an understanding of what to expect in terms of the role and responsibilities, but coping with the demands in practice takes training and a change in mindset. You need to set realistic expectations of yourself and learn to recognise your symptoms of stress.
2. Never be scared to ask for help
Naturally, you will not know everything when you start out and those who are tutoring you or supporting you in school will appreciate this. They will be expecting you to ask for help when you need it, so please don’t hesitate to do so. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness at all: if anything it shows a great deal of strength and aptitude for the teaching profession. All teachers will ask for help many times throughout their career.
3. Don’t expect to know everything
Linked to the above tip, you can’t expect to know everything, and you certainly shouldn’t see this as a failure! Taking on the role of class teacher doesn't mean you will suddenly become the fount of all knowledge and know all the answers. It’s actually a really good learning point to demonstrate to children that you don’t know all the answers, but you know how to find out what the right answer is. Also keep in mind that all teachers take part in regular refresher courses and should be constantly looking to update their practice – learning is a journey not a destination.
4. Learn to prioritise and manage time effectively
This can be something that some trainees (and teachers!) find extremely tricky to master. It is important to learn to prioritise your workload to maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent stress. You will need to learn to manage your time effectively, making sure that you don’t spend longer than is necessary on some tasks. Look for areas where you can save some time, e.g. resources may already exist in school so you can spend more of your time ensuring that your lesson is best tailored to suit the needs of your class.
5. Take care of yourself
It’s vitally important to adopt and protect a healthy work-life balance. Teachers who don’t do so can quickly become burnt out. I’ve personally been there before and it’s not a good place at all. You need to be able to give yourself a break and give yourself the licence to walk away from your planning or studies in order to maintain your wellbeing. You will obviously want to do the best you can for your career and for the children, but try to remember – sometimes good is good enough.
For regular support and guidance, check out the Twinkl Trainee Teachers resource page and join our Facebook group. We hold weekly live Q&A sessions where we discuss important topics and answer your burning questions.
Adam Kenyon graduated in 2011 with a BA in Primary Education: Early Years.
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