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On probation

As student teachers eagerly await news of their first job interviews, two new guides have appeared to help them through the first difficult year in the classroom. Both are easy to read and dip into, with immensely useful words of advice.

The Year of Living Dangerously: A Survival Guide for Probationer Teachers is a 64-page book written by teacher Diane Allison for the City of Edinburgh Council. With chapters entitled Starting Off, Getting Through the Year, Your First Classroom, Organising Your Time, Pupil Management, Peripatetic Ramblings and Paperwork and Other Necessities, there is plenty of help - and levity - to smooth the way.

"My hope is that this book will serve as a sticking plaster, a comfort blanket and a soother, as well as a practical help and guide for all you semi-ordinary people out there," writes Ms Allison. "I say 'semi-ordinary' because you have, after all, chosen teaching as your profession."

The book arose out of a talk Ms Allison was asked to give to newly qualified teachers when she was working in Edinburgh. So popular was it that she received frequent requests for photocopies of her adice. Now her notes have been filled out into a complete book that is given free to all new teachers in the city. It is also available to other teachers, schools or authorities, though at a small price, from the council.

Guide for New Teachers is a 30-page A4 booklet from the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association, written by senior members of the association in consultation with probationer members. In addition to information about the SSTA, it contains sections on the General Teaching Council for Scotland and probation, getting a job and preparing for interviews, getting to know a school, classroom management, professional conduct, dealing with pupils with special needs and with parents, assertiveness, support from the principal teacher and an A to Z glossary for new entrants.

It is sent free to new teachers who take out SSTA membership but due to requests the union may make it more widely available.

Scottish Secondary Teachers Assoc, tel 0131 556 5919; www.ssta.org.uk'The Year of Living Dangerously: A Survival Guide for Probationer Teachers', pound;4.99 from Edinburgh City Council, tel 0131 469 3141

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