End half-term with a bang

12th November 2004 at 00:00
Advice for teachers in their early career

I probably don't need to tell you that this half-term is going to be tough.

There's so much happening in pupils' lives to make them excited and tired - and difficult to teach. There've been fireworks going off for weeks, and there's still Diwali, Christmas and Hanukkah to prepare for.

If you're at all typical of new teachers, you'll be in survival mode, living from day to day, lesson to lesson, and needing quick fixes and tips.

Half-term seems light years ago and you look longingly at the end of term on the calendar. You go to work when it's just beginning to get light and leave in the dark: colds and sore throats seem permanent.

This is where your trusty induction tutor and other colleagues come in handy. Look to them to prop you up, help you with the miscreants, remind you of the progress you're making and help you prioritise. Your head, induction tutor and "appropriate body" at the local education authority have clear responsibilities to support you.

Make sure this is working for you, unlike Evette who complains: "I have a meeting with the other 12 NQTs for an hour a week with her, when she tells us about how important and busy she is. She never listens to how we are doing or asks us what we need."

Ensure that you are fulfilling your responsibilities. Are you taking an active role in your induction, looking for help and making the most of all professional development opportunities? Are you raising issues about any problems with your induction support, monitoring and assessment with your induction tutor, your head and, finally, the LEA?

Your LEA contact should know what they're talking about, but it's worth checking what they say against the letter of the law, which are the induction regulations. There's one such LEA person who told a primary school that it was OK for an newly qualified teacher to be in charge of special needs, and who told new teachers at another school that it wouldn't be reasonable to expect to get the 10 per cent reduced timetable because half the staff are on induction. Amazing, but true. If necessary, contact the induction team at the Teacher Training Association.

Induction regulations www.teachernet.gov.ukprofessionaldevelopmentnqtinductionguidanceTTA induction team induction@teach-tta.gov.uk

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