7 EPIC Teacher Training Survival Tips.

7 EPIC Teacher Training Survival Tips.

I think all teachers will agree that teacher training is hard, I know my training was the hardest thing I’ve ever undertaken; more demanding and intense than my Marine Biology degree.

But don’t worry, there are strategies you can easily use to make your teacher training easier and more successful.

In this article, trainee teacher; Katie Ledden from Katies Corner gives you 7 epic tips that will make your teacher training a breeze (well maybe not a breeze but they’ll certainly help you hugely).

So, what are they?

Hello! My name is Katie and I have just started my second year at the University of Brighton, UK, training to be a primary school teacher. So far, I am loving it! It is an incredibly challenging course but it is totally worth the hard work. Here are a few things that I have found helpful so far – but of course everyone’s experience is different! I hope you find it helpful…

Here we go, brace yourselves!

1. Be organised:

teacher training

I cannot stress enough how important this is! Do your best to keep on top of readings, assignments, placement paperwork etc. as it is a lot and can easily become overwhelming!

Using a diary is something that I have found helpful in this regard. When I get home from a day at University or placement I sit down with my diary and write down anything that I need to do and when it needs to be done by. It helps to be able to see it visually in front of you.

The people on my course who have struggled have been those who left work to the last minute and therefore had lots to do in a short space of time which is very stressful! Try to do your work as near to when it was given to you as possible and you can’t go too far wrong!

2. Build relationships:

teacher training

Whether this is with course-mates, tutors/lecturers, teachers on placement. This is so, so important in terms of you coping with the course and becoming the best teacher you can be.

Building good relationships with your course-mates means you can discuss readings together, help each other out with ideas for assignments, and discuss any issues you may be having on placement. You are all in the same boat yet all bring different experiences and ideas to the table. Taking the time to build relationships with your tutors is equally helpful!

You can do this by making the effort to prepare for sessions, doing the readings so you have ideas to contribute, and asking them for their advice when needed. The same goes for building relationships with staff on placement – make conversation in the staffroom, be prepared and organised, and be sure to keep a dialogue going with your class teacher so that you can stay on the same page.

I was worried before I started placement that the staff of the school might be irritated to have a student teacher there. However, what I found was that if you made an effort to start conversations, asked if you could do anything to help etc. then staff warmed to you a lot quicker. I did things like helping with a project the school ran outside of normal working hours which showed a level of commitment to the school and the children who went there.

Another thing that I found helpful last year was getting in touch with students on my course who were in the year above me. I was able to ask for advice for assignments and tips on the course in general. Never be afraid to ask for help from any of these groups of people! At the end of the day, we are all passionate about education and should support each other in being the best teachers we can.

3. Take every opportunity:

teacher training

This can be in terms of just making sure you are in the mindset to learn when you are in lectures or seminars so that you can get the most out of them, but also in terms of the opportunities that come your way on placement. For example, it is a great idea to ask to observe excellent teachers in the school you are placed at other than the class teacher you are placed with so that you can learn from a variety of practitioners and take on board a wider variety of ideas.

You won’t be able to have a placement in every single year group that you might end up teaching and so it is great to see examples of teaching every year group so you can feel slightly more prepared. In my first-year placement I was placed in Year One and found it very helpful to visit Reception and Year Two so I could see where the children in my class had come from and where they were headed.

4. The sky is the limit:

teacher training

As the next generation of teachers, we are in a position to really make a change. When I first started my training I felt that I would be restricted by the current education system. However, I now see that there are always ways to teach creatively and still fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum and OFSTED (The UK government body that assesses teaching).

For example, I am really passionate about the power of using drama as a tool for teaching and although this is not part of the curriculum in its own right, I used drama on my first placement as a tool for teaching R.E. The children learnt the story of The Good Samaritan and then made freeze frames of the different scenes. The children loved it and it helped them to remember the story as well as providing the inspiration for some great written work too.

Don’t put a ceiling on what you can achieve as a teacher or on what the children you teach might achieve.

5. Look after yourself:

teacher training

In addition to being an academically challenging course (as all degrees are!), it is also an emotionally challenging one. It is so focused on you and the impact that your actions have that it can feel overwhelming – particularly on placement when you can’t help but become emotionally invested in the children you are working with.

I lost count of how many times I rang my mum in tears last year; purely from exhaustion or when I was upset at the situations some of the kids I was working with were living in. It essential to have a good support system around you of people who will encourage you to keep going when it gets tough. In addition to this, don’t be too hard on yourself and take the time to look after yourself by eating well, sleeping enough, and making sure you have ‘downtime’ every week to have fun! Protecting your mental health is vitally important.

You may find this article helpful: The Teachers Guide to Mental Health

6. Remember your ‘why’:

teacher training

This is possibly the most important piece of advice. Don’t forget why you are doing this. It can be so easy to get bogged down by assignments and observations and paperwork but at the end of the day, you are there because you want to make a difference.

No one goes into teaching for the money so you must have a good reason! On the pinboard over my desk, I have a post-it note which I wrote right at the start of my first year of teacher training. It says: “I may not be able to change the world, but I can change their world.” This is my own personal philosophy for teaching… I am doing this because I want to better the lives of the children in my care.

Being on placement made this all the more real as I saw the impact of what I was doing could have on a child’s life. Leaving them at the end of the 10 weeks totally broke my heart but made me all the more excited for the next one. Establish your ‘why’ and make sure you come back to it and reflect on it whenever it feels like everything is all getting a bit much.

7. Fake it ‘til you make it:

This is my final nugget of advice. I think that one of the biggest worries for student teachers is having confidence in the classroom – particularly in terms of classroom management. However, I believe that if you pretend you are confident, the children won’t know the difference! You might even manage to convince yourself too. I was so scared when I started my first placement but I walked into that room with big smiles and my shoulders back. I think I got away with it!

I hope that this post has been helpful! Good luck with the rest of your training. You’ve got this.

You can see more from me on my own blog: Katie’s Corner

All the best,
Katie.

Here are some more articles you may find useful:

35 INCREDIBLE Classroom Apps for Teachers

Common Misbehaviors in the Classroom

The ULTIMATE study guide.

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Author: Paul Stevens-Fulbrook

Paul Stevens-Fulbrook (TeacherOfSci) is a Science teacher and Education blogger based in Brighton, England. He started blogging to help support teachers with the everyday struggles that they all face (including himself).

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