Advice For Teachers

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What advice would you offer to school teachers who are returning to school?

It’s ‘back to school season’ and teachers will be getting ready for the term ahead. After 24 years in the classroom, here are my 5 bits of advice for teachers – old and new.

Teachers

  1. There will be demands from above and below and you’ll need to manage this. Never be afraid of saying ‘no’. There will always be something extra to do or a request to become a ‘champion’; to be part of a new group or initiative, rarely with no time or money allocated. Be precious with your time, but seek out opportunities if you want to invest in your potential – only if everything else is ticking over nicely.
  2. Focus on the cyclical model of mark-plan-teach. After all, this is what every teacher does best and if you can do those things well, it will improve on other aspects of your school life. Fail to manage something simple such as lesson plans? Then you’ll find yourself on the back-foot, kicking off your lessons, little-more than one step ahead of the kids. That can only lead to two things: anxiety on your part and a dip in standards over time.
  3. Focus on the students. They will ‘find the gaps’, so don’t give them an inch. Keep your expectations high. Always follow-up and for goodness sake, please follow your school’s behaviour policy. Be consistent, persistent and insistent.
  4. Pace yourself. Your work will never be done. Look after yourself and remember, you too have a family and a life outside of school. Do not feel guilty about going home at 4:00PM and if someone ‘questions you’ on your way out the door, respond with “Don’t you worry about my wellbeing. I’ve got everything under control …”
  5. Get connected. Login into Twitter, Facebook and whatever else for professional reasons. There are thousands of teacher sharing advice, exposing nonsense and supporting one another. The people I have met and the relationships and connections I have formed over the past 10 years have all been down to Twitter. More importantly, it’s not only kept me out of my silo, it’s challenged my ideas and work, exposed myths, allowing me to share school ideas and receive ‘instant feedback’. It’s often quicker than waiting for a meeting and/or feedback from your colleagues who are in your school! The beauty of social media, is it can be one giant staffroom with people dipping in and out when it suits them.

Good luck for the year ahead and get in touch if you need anything.

@TeacherToolkit

In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

One thought on “Advice For Teachers

  • 5th September 2017 at 8:58 am
    Permalink

    Look after your own well-being and mental health. Take 10 minutes out during every day to just be quiet, breathe and check in on yourself and how you are feeling.

    Reply

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