Could be better

Halfway through the induction year Sara Bubb writes an honest report on the successes and failures so far

If you started work in September, you are now more than halfway through the induction year. Yay! How are you doing? The dire consequences of failing induction (you are deregistered from the General Teaching Council and so, barring appeals, can never teach in the maintained sector again) make some people twitchy.

Don't worry overly about the assessment side of things. Although it is a diabolical rule, which we shouldn't cease complaining about, very few people fall foul of it. So, you should see induction as something to help you get to be the best teacher possible.

You ought to have a clear picture of how you are doing. Either side of the half-term break your induction tutor should have popped down a few points about what's going well and what you need to prioritise, agreeing an objective or two that you should meet by, say, Easter.

Do ask how much better things need to be. Very few problems vanish but you need to know how much progress is realistic. If you had five run-ins last week, are you aiming for no more than four next week?

Experts on managing change in organisations say it requires vision, skills, incentives, resources and action plans. But I think that works for new teachers, too: if any one of those five things is missing, you will find it hard to develop.

Let's think about Miranda, who has poor behaviour in tutor-group time. The chatting and mucking about are getting her down. If she doesn't have a vision of how she wants them to behave, she won't develop because she doesn't know what her boundaries for behaviour are in this less formal time.

Without the skills to improve behaviour, such as rewards and sanctions, she'll get anxious and feel inadequate. If there are no incentives, such as people complaining or someone observing her, she may develop but not as quickly.

She'll get frustrated if there are no resources, such as advice from colleagues, books to read, observation of other people's form times, or time to think through what she's going to do. Without an action plan, written or mental, she may not get round to improving things consistently or there'll be lots of false starts.

Now, look at your objectives. Do you have a vision and the skills, incentives, resources and an action plan to improve?

Sara Bubb is an education consultant. She answers questions on our forums at

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