Where do I start?

6th December 2002 at 00:00
Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs

My induction tutor has observed me twice. The first time, the pupils were very difficult to engage and I didn't get much work from them. Second time round, I had planned to meet all the requirements - engaging starter, punchy pace, main activity presented in a fun way, plenty for them to do. But they came in wild and I couldn't get them quiet. The induction tutor left after about 10 minutes and said she would do another observation. I'm desperate for this to go well but worried that I'll go to pieces.

The problems you're having sound normal. Most NQTs at this time of year have some lessons that go swimmingly, others that are OK, and some that are a disaster. Some of this is to do with you and what you're teaching, but much is about the class itself and what lesson they've just had.

Being nervous when observed is perfectly normal, but try to see it as an opportunity to get some useful feedback - and not as a threat. You'll feel better if you're fully prepared. Plan with even more care and have a copy of the lesson plan for the observer. Be clear about what you want the pupils to learn and achieve by the end of the lesson, and make sure your teaching and the activities enable them to do so. Think through every stage of the lesson to pre-empt problems; transitions from one part of the lesson to another are tricky. Have as much information written on the board beforehand as you can.

Think about what the person observing you is looking for. Address areas that haven't gone well before. Look at the QTS and induction standards again. Obviously, she'll want to see that you're making progress against your current objectives.

Most importantly, look after yourself. Get a good night's sleep the night before so you're not tired. Eat and drink things that make you feel good. Avoid too much caffeine. Do everything you can to feel confident - wear your favourite teaching clothes, encourage other people to boost you. Tell yourself you're going to teach well, and believe it.

During the observation, block out the observer and just focus on teaching and learning. After the lesson, think about what the pupils learned and why, so you're ready to answer the inevitable: "How do you think it went?"

question. Use the feedback to discuss the minutiae of the lesson and to get ideas for improvements. There's no such thing as a perfect teacher so your lesson doesn't have to be perfect. You need to show that you're reflective, making progress and acting on advice.

Are you a student or NQT? Email your questions to: susan.young@newsint.co.uk. Sara Bubb's A Newly Qualified Teacher's Manual:how to meet the induction standards is published by David Fulton, pound;16

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