Starting out as a trainee teacher is exciting and daunting - our tips will give you confidence in the classroom
Becoming a trainee teacher is a fantastic and exciting first step in your career as an educator. You've got the passion, energy, and enthusiasm, as well as the understanding and knowledge required to bring out the best in your pupils. However, when you first step foot inside the classroom, it's understandably going to feel daunting, and putting everything you've learned into practice is a whole different story!
With our top tips for trainee teachers, you can feel confident that you'll be able to keep control of your classroom and deliver a fantastic lesson. However, it's important to remember that you aren't going to get everything right straight away. Teaching can have its ups and downs, and by giving yourself some extra help, you can ensure that you stay cool, calm, and confident no matter what!
Trainee teaching tips for new teachers
Set your expectations right away
Keeping your class under control, setting boundaries and expectations, and earning respect from your pupils are some of the most critical parts of your role. Without achieving this, it won't matter how brilliant a teacher you are - your job will be impossible. Therefore it is vital to set your expectations with your class right away. Before starting your lesson, talk about what you expect from your pupils and conduct a collaborative exercise where you decide what constitutes good behaviour and what will not be tolerated, and the consequences for unacceptable behaviour.
Get familiar with how the school works
The better you know the school you work in, the easier life will be! On your first day, use your breaks to familiarise yourself with the school's layout, so you know where to find everything. Ask your colleagues for any words of wisdom they can pass on to you, introduce yourself to admin staff, cleaning staff, groundskeepers, chefs, and so on. It would help if you also tried to learn more about the ethos of the school and the extracurricular activities they provide. Study the school events calendar and anything else you can think of to help you better understand how the school works on a day-to-day basis.
Make your own learning and development a priority too
As a trainee teacher, you can't expect to know everything from day one. So make sure that you consider how you will expand your knowledge and expertise to become a better educator. The more in-depth knowledge you have around your subject, the more confident you'll feel. But subject knowledge isn't everything, and there are plenty of other avenues you can explore to develop and grow as a teacher too. Think about how you want to progress in your role and then explore the routes and options you have to continue creating and achieving new goals throughout your career.
Learn to priorities and organise efficiently
Good organisation skills will get you a long way. Prioritising your workload effectively and staying on top of lesson planning and marking is imperative to remain in control and not feel overwhelmed. Figure out some strategies to keep you organised, become a pro prioritiser and manage your time well to help yourself stay on top of everything you need to.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t go according to plan
If your first lesson or even the first few lessons you teach don't go according to plan, don't worry! No matter how organised and well prepared you are, you may well come up against something unexpected that throws everything you learned into disarray. Try not to feel too disheartened if this happens. If you persevere, you'll find each day gets a little easier, and before you know it, you'll hit your stride and remember why you decided to become a teacher in the first place!
Lean on your colleagues when you need to
Remember that you have colleagues who have been doing this a lot longer than you and will likely be more than willing to pass on some wisdom and advice. Don't be afraid to reach out if you feel out of your depth. More experienced teachers will remember all too well what it is like to start teaching and will have a wealth of knowledge and advice and many practical resources that they can share with you to make life that little bit easier.
Learn to recognise your limits and the signs of burnout
There is no doubt that teaching can be a stressful job. So make sure that you are aware of your limitations. If you start to feel stressed and burnt out, recognise this and have some self-care strategies in place to help ensure that you can alleviate the pressure. Prioritise rest, carve out some personal time, and get back to feeling energised and ready to get back in the classroom with confidence once more.
With these trainee teacher tips, you are sure to feel more confident and assured on your first day in the classroom and beyond. Remember to go easy on yourself - it's understandable to feel a little out of your depth at first, and the more experience you have, the easier your job will feel. Good luck!
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