Tales from new teachers

A cunning plan
28th November 2014, 12:00am

Share

Tales from new teachers

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/tales-new-teachers-25

The problem

The workload of my training year - the cycle of marking, planning, essay-writing and so on - was pushing me to the limit.

The first time I was given the target of being "more organised" in a lesson observation, my jaw dropped. I had often referred to myself as a perfectionist and a control freak but now I felt like a fraud. But the strain of teaching is surely enough to test anyone's organisational skills.

The options

Of course, the most obvious option was to have a mini-meltdown, sitting in my study surrounded by academic papers, exercise books and meticulously planned resource packs. However, I quickly realised the detrimental effect that admitting defeat so early would have - I should at least wait until half-term to pile on the self-pity.

Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I decided to restore organisation to its rightful place at the top of my CV. I didn't just need a school timetable, I needed a working timetable and, for that matter, a social timetable.

So I created said super-timetable, with the days of the week (and the weekend) across the top and horizontal rows relating to several areas: planning, meeting my mentor, marking, homework-setting and course-related tasks such as observations, reflective journals and lesson reflections.

I colour-coded, cross-referenced and evenly spread out all the commitments for each day before sending the document to the reprographics department to be laminated.

The outcome was a pristine, wipe-clean workload timetable that helped me to stay on track throughout the week. It also meant that I could fill in the themes of the lessons I had to plan, tick off completed tasks and write in additional responsibilities week by week.

The result

Suddenly, I found myself able to sleep at night without having a pen and notebook gripped in my hands.

I knew exactly what I needed to do each day and I knew the deadline for each of these tasks. Not only was I finally getting on top of things but I was also far less stressed. Consequently, so was my mentor.

It's incredible that such a simple aid could completely transform my attitude towards my workload - it's something that I will use throughout my career.

The writer is training to be a teacher in East Anglia

Share your experience as a new teacher

Email jon.severs@tesglobal.com

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Register for free to read more

You can read two more articles on Tes for free this month if you register using the button below.

Alternatively, you can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

Already registered? Log in

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Subscribe to read more

You can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters