Top tips for trainee teachers | Education Support
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Top tips for trainee teachers

6th June 2018

Marsha Phipps shares her experiences as a trainee teacher and her top tips for anyone else just starting out. 

I’m doing the Schools Direct one-year training programme. I’m in my 30s and had a varied (and sometimes stressful) career path, so compared to my classmates, most of whom are 10 years younger, this doesn’t feel too intense. It’s tiring, it’s hard work, but there’s something about teaching and managing a class that makes me feel like I really should’ve done this a long time ago!

Teaching my own lessons is what I’m enjoying most. I just haven’t got enough time to research all the theories of teaching - which is what interests me the most - because I’m so busy. That’s frustrating but I’ll do it later in my own time.  

I have two different placements; the first with a very experienced teacher. I learn so much from her; she teaches me great structure in lesson planning and delivery. In my second placement, I had the opportunity and flexibility to try things out. This has really helped me to develop my teaching style.

I can’t wait until I have my own class. It’s hard teaching in someone else’s shadow. There’s always someone looking over your shoulder, observing you. That added pressure of someone seeing you’re not doing well is hard but it’s all part of the process. Training is very challenging, but also very rewarding.

Marsha’s top tips: 

The importance of good support: 
The senior leadership teams in both placements have been really supportive. I’ve also got a brilliant tutor – she’s always available. We’ve been made aware of Ed Support. Early on, we learnt about the roles and responsibilities of teachers and we were referred to the Ed Support website and helpline if we had questions or concerns.

The importance of self-care:  
Having a social life and interests outside work is really important. I know when I’m getting overwhelmed. I try to book things in advance so I have things to look forward too. I don’t want to fall into a trap of always waiting for the next half term. Normally, once Monday is over I know I can get through the rest of the week!

If there’s an assignment due – do it early. A school trip; plan it early. Whatever else happens, you’ve done that!

Make friends:
The people on my course are brilliant, we’re all there for each other. If someone’s had a bad day, we just go out together.

Relax often:
Once you feel calm, you’re much better at handling stuff.

Use the Ed Support Helpline:
It’s good to talk! You don’t always want to burden your friends and family, especially if it’s about school.