Induction can work wonders

14th October 2005 at 01:00
How are things going? I know you are exhausted and that all you can see is a depressing mountain of work ahead of you, but induction is there to help.

Make the most of the half-termly review of your progress with your tutor because it's your formal chance to find out how you are doing.

Start by discussing what's going well. There will be plenty of issues that are better now than when you started and celebrating them will boost your flagging spirits. Some new teachers are pleasantly surprised at how much better matters are than they'd expected, but still worry that there is something they have missed. Ask for reassurance.

What about the areas that need to get better? Most people benefit from a good analysis in order to get the help they need - but it isn't always that easy. It's hard to decide what to work on when events aren't going right because each problem has a huge knock-on effect - and some newly qualified teachers have suffered from not having areas for development accurately diagnosed.

Problems need to be reflected upon and analysed to draw useful objectives and a plan of action. If you have problems with control, for example, enrolling on a behaviour management course might help, but it won't if the root cause has to do with planning, attitude, relationships, pace or resources - or all of them.

What's going to be the priority and what are you going to do about making things better? This is where your trusty induction tutor and all your other colleagues come in handy. They'll have lots of ideas.

This review is an opportunity to say whether induction is working for you.

Are you taking an active role in it, looking for help and making the most of all professional development opportunities? Are you getting a 10 per cent reduced timetable, and is it going well?

One newly qualified teacher I met is getting hacked off at having to leave work for the person who takes the class only to find that things aren't taught properly, procedures are changed, work is unmarked and the classroom left in a mess. She's in a tricky position as the culprit is not some supply teacher, but the head.

It will test all your skills of diplomacy, but you must raise concerns. You and your pupils deserve it.

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