Invest in the best - you

10th November 2006 at 00:00
Whether you're struggling with the job or loving it, all NQTs should take full advantage of the support on offer in their induction year. Sara Bubb

Induction is there to help you when you first start teaching. It is a fantastic opportunity to make stacks of progress on the road to becoming a great teacher.

However, lots of newly qualified teachers miss out on their full entitlement to support, monitoring and assessment but feel awkward asking for it. If you started teaching this term, here is what you should have had so far.

1 A 10 per cent lighter teaching timetable than other teachers in the school 2 A job description that does not make unreasonable demands. For example, you should not have to teach exceptionally difficult kids, subjects or age groups that you haven't been trained for, nor be expected to take on a management role 3 An observation of your teaching within the first four weeks with oral and written feedback, and then every six to eight weeks 4 Regular meetings with a trained induction tutor, aiming to:

* set objectives (with action plans) informed by strengths and areas for development, identified through discussing your career entry and development profile;

* draw up an individual programme of support, monitoring and assessment * review progress before or just after the half-term break.

Schools are obliged by law to make sure that all these things happen - and plenty do heaps more for their new teachers. But there are some which, though small in number, do a great deal of harm.

Some schools neglect their NQTs through ignorance, misunderstanding or incompetence. Where schools are in challenging circumstances, there are so many other issues that induction slips to the bottom of the pile, and new teachers leave the very schools that need them most.

Some schools deliberately flout the induction guidance. There are a few people who leave new teachers to sink or swim because they only want the strongest. They treat new teachers unprofessionally, wasting public resources and, in some cases, hindering or ruining individuals' careers.

If your school isn't providing good-quality induction, raise the issue verbally and then in writing, first with your induction tutor, then head and then the local "appropriate body".

It is your professional duty to develop into the best teacher you can be.

Invest in yourself and you will be doing all your present and future pupils a huge favour

Sara Bubb is an education consultant specialising in induction

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