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TeachEast

Blog: Those whirlwind first weeks 

As the dust begins to settle on the first fortnight in schools for our trainees of 2016/17, it’s important to reflect and take stock of where we are, what we’ve achieved and what is still to come.

On the two induction days, many of you felt overwhelmed by the amount of information you had to take on: Prevent, Safeguarding, Teacher Standards, Professional Conduct…so much to learn and so little time!

That following Monday then brought a whole new dimension as you were plunged into schools, with policies, procedures, names, expectations all to learn, as well as where the toilet was! It was, without doubt, one of the most intense fortnights you will ever experience, and one that no amount of preparation can truly ready you for. But it is now behind you, and you need reflect on all that you have learned already in such a short period of time.

The routines and rituals of school life should be becoming more normal to you, as should the daily (and often unpredictable!) interaction with young people as they learn and discover new things. You are becoming part of their school lives and it is amazing how quickly they come to accept and trust you, especially if you give them your enthusiasm, attention and patience.

As you look back on those early days, you should feel proud of what you’ve already accomplished, but should also ensure that you are setting goals for where you want to go and what you want to do in the coming weeks. Your mentor will help guide you and you should use the mentor sessions to reflect but also plan ahead for next week’s journey. For that is what Initial Teacher Training is really:  a journey. A journey on which you go from overwhelmed trainee to confident, assertive, dynamic teacher. There are many stops along the way and there will be bumps in the road, but if you always keep in mind where you have come from and where you want to get to, you should be able to enjoy the trip.

Top tips for the coming weeks:

  1. Take time to congratulate yourself and reflect on the huge progress already made.
  2. Reflect on areas where you feel you could have done something differently; how will you approach this situation next time?
  3. Use your mentor meeting to map out the route for the weeks ahead – where do you see yourself as we come into October?
  4. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Weird, unpredictable things happen in schools; be strong enough to laugh rather than cry if something goes wrong.
  5. Keep everything you create, make or plan – it could well be evidence you need to prove you meet the Teachers’ Standards.