A short blog, offering #BackToSchool advice for teachers returning to school on their first day.
This short list is designed for day one only and is a to-do list and in parts, a thinking-list. I have provided a short bullet point list for (NQTs) Newly Qualified Teachers and for teachers starting new schools. Of course this advice in infinite and will only suit your own role and school context, but at least the 5 points listed for each role will prove useful before the start of the new term.
BackToSchool advice for Newly Qualified Teachers:
*This list is also applicable for every teacher starting out in a new school.
- Meet and greet all your colleagues in your faculty / corridor.
- Go and find where all your nearest watering holes are. e.g. Toilet. Kitchen for a cup of tea. Staffroom. Shower etc.
- Explore the school site to understand all the various areas of the school. Even the hiding spots you missed when first visiting the school. It may not be important for your day-to-day role, but it’s important ‘you know.’ Especially before the students arrive.
- On day one, the main goal is for you to be ready for your first set of lessons. Do not panic about understanding all the information presented to in meetings. You can ask your head of department or your head of year later, as well as the NQT cooridnator. Double-check your resources in your classroom and make sure they are working.
- Read the Behaviour Policy inside-out and follow it religiously, no matter how far your threshold is tested. Set your standards high.
BackToSchool advice for every established teacher:
- Say hello and welcome to all the new members of staff. Do not under-estimate the importance of saying ‘hello’ and offering, ‘if you need anything, just ask.’
- Are there any colleagues you would like to observe beyond your appraisal structure? Arrange this today and set a date.
- How could you improve your marking this year? Could you try smarter marking and reduce time spent giving meaningless feedback?
- What displays will you update in your classroom before open evening? Is it time for a classroom spring-clean?
- Review your own staff development needs? What will improve your practice in the classroom? How will you do this?
BackToSchool advice for every middle-leader:
- Are all classes/teachers allocated and is the timetable matched to the needs of the students? Any new staff to support and settle in?
- What are the highs and lows from the latest examination analysis? Have you prepared a summary to share?
- Have you received all purchasing orders / deliveries to your department?
- What schemes of work are currently being monitored, evaluated, reviewed? And by who? When?
- What are the departmental priorities for the term ahead? Be prepared to share these.
BackToSchool advice for every head of year:
- Any new team members to welcome and support?
- Are you fully up to date with your own safeguarding procedures and latest guidance? Are your tutors?
- Do any students need to move tutor groups? If so, why?
- What interventions are needed for your students in your year group? Any late admissions new to the school? Have you looked at the data for: Gender? Ethnicity? Progress? Support? Achievement? Do you know ‘every’ child? Can you summarise this in a handout by tutor group?
- The ethos of your year group: what values need revisiting, to re-align with the school’s vision? Are you ready for the first assembly? Are your tutors?