Handle your induction year with aplomb

Induction is designed to be a supportive transition into teaching, says the Training and Development Agency, and to build a firm foundation for future career development. Don’t be dumbfounded by the fact that you will be assessed against 41 core standards covering three professional areas. “Remember, your induction lasts for three terms and you have all of this time in which to meet the core standards. You will also have years ahead to improve and develop your skills,” says a TDA spokesman.

Try these classroom techniques

  • Bring your personality into the classroom: NQTs shouldn’t be afraid to bring their personality into the classroom and create a lively, stimulating environment. High exam grades and being well-read won’t mean very much if an NQT cannot relate to children.
  • Use lots of visual stimulation: Children are used to being visually stimulated through computer games and high technology so they expect a similar level of engagement in the classroom. NQTs should try to use multimedia as teaching and learning aids to keep children on task.
  • Manage the class with character: Use humour and liveliness to manage a class. If you adopt an engaging, vivacious personality, you’re more likely to keep children’s interest in their learning and prevent poor behaviour.”I love to see the relaxed smiles on the faces of the most challenging children when I’ve said something funny,” says Peter Smith, secondary school teacher. “It certainly makes teaching easier,” he adds.

Be spontaneous
Children are, so you should be too, says Helen Morgans, induction tutor at Lewis Comprehensive School, Pengam, Wales. NQTs shouldn’t be afraid to go off teaching points and follow the children’s interests at times. Don’t always follow curriculum plans to the nth degree.”I can’t imagine teaching without pulling some kind of surprise,” says Maria Dixon, primary school teacher. “I remember once we were in the middle of literacy hour and the children spotted that it had started to snow outside. So we abandoned the lesson for 10 minutes and went outside in the snow. Back in the classroom, I brainstormed the class for adjectives to describe the wintry scene.”

Use a variety of teaching methods
A bored child often means poor behaviour so use an assortment of teaching methods to keep them interested and engaged. And remember to pitch your teaching at the right level; if it is too high it will go over their heads and they won’t understand; too low and they will not be challenged and be bored.

Use your mentor
The key person to help you along the way will be your induction tutor, says Helen Morgans: Try not to be intimidated by your mentor as their job is to support you as well as observe you in action. And it’s not just about seeking support and being assessed, says Helen. “I see myself as a sounding board for ideas,” she says.
Many NQTs can end up feeling isolated, and without support, agrees Francis xxx (who’s this?). “I always make a point of meeting up with NQTs at the start of induction to make sure that they understand their entitlement to support,” she says.

Helen’s tips:

  • Use your hourly induction meetings wisely - don’t spend all your time chatting!
  • Focus on your planning during induction meetings and ask for support where needed
  • Discuss your aims and objectives with your tutor who will help you to clarify and refine these appropriately
  • Don’t make things more difficult for yourself than you need to. Use successful lesson plans from previous teaching practices during your initial teacher training, adapting where necessary

Receive formal recognition for induction
Induction is a learning experience so why not gain recognition for things you’ve learned along the way? The Teachers Learning Academy run by the General Teaching Council provides a way for NQTs to do just that with work-based CPD learning opportunities. NQTs can work through the TLA during their induction period, gaining formal recognition once induction is completed. An enrollment fee will be introduced during the summer of 2009 and NQTs will also need support frm their school and mentor.

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Induction information

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What is the most invaluable thing that gets you through your induction? Post below and let others know.