Firm foundations

20th July 2007 at 01:00
Plan your classroom now and avoid panicking later on this summer, advises Sara Bubb

You may be on your knees with exhaustion, but the whole of the summer holidays now stretch out in front of you.

A word of warning though: if you want to switch off completely, it might be wise to do a little preparation for next term now. What do you need to take home with you? Maybe nothing, but many people take some planning and jobs like writing labels. If you've taught any public examinations, are you expected to attend school on results day? Do you want to?

If you're working somewhere new in September, visit the school so that you can familiarise yourself with planning, routines and procedures. Speak to key people: support staff and teachers you'll be working with, your immediate boss, the headteacher and deputy. Get on the good side of the admin staff and premises officer, and maybe get the lowdown about some of the characters you'll be teaching.

Ideally, you should leave the school feeling full of enthusiasm with lots of information, and secure in the knowledge that you'll be supported. Be aware that talking to jaded teachers and seeing pupils behaving badly may contradict the impression of the school you gained at interview. It'll be better at the start of the school year, honest.

Find out when you can get in at the end of the holidays to set up your room. For now you need to make a note of what's in it and how the furniture is arranged (take a photo) as you'll probably be confronted with a pile of furniture when you go in next month. Look at the resources in your room and the rest of the school. Have you got all that you need? If not, make a list and note anything that needs to be put right in your room so that the school keeper can get things shipshape in the holidays.

What you want to avoid is worrying about these kinds of things when you should be preparing and building your stamina for the term ahead. Now for that holid **

Sara Bubb's Successful Induction for New Teachers is published in September by Paul Chapman. Email:

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