A week in the life of a probationer

Kathryn Munro guides you through five days in the working week of a probationer teacher.

Biology and Science Teacher, Gracemount High School, Edinburgh


The start of another week and a new set of lesson plans. The pupils start off quietly as they recover from their weekends and wake up.

The morning is spent teaching and the afternoon is 0.3 time on the timetable, which means paperwork. I write up the last week, recording any CPD I have done in my 0.3 time - this record needs to be completed accurately to ensure that, come time it's all nice and easy...

Some development of department resources comes next - all good for the CPD portfolio! Oh, and time for a wee coffee with the other probationers. It's important to support each other and to take a few moments out.


My busiest teaching day. I have my two second-year classes in one day - surely a crime! The day ends and I feel like I've done a marathon. Yet I've a sense of achievement that my classes have had a good day.

It's not finished yet.

Study club runs today, so I wait, hopeful that some of the exam classes will turn up for extra help.

One of the best things about study club is meeting the kids on an individual basis and being able to give them a bit of confidence about their abilities in Biology...oh, and have a gossip!


First period is our department meeting and I report back on the resources I have been developing. At the latest of my supporter meetings we go through the school week. I have prepared an agenda and take the minutes from the meeting. It has become very much a routine and isn't as much work as it first appeared to be.

At lunchtime, I meet with some of the most enthusiastic kids in the school at Gracemount Environmental Team meetings. I always come away with a smile as we plan another enterprise project around the school.


Today is double second years again...challenging yet fulfilling. They love the practical I have planned and go away talking about Science. How can I ask for anything more?!

Lunchtime is my SIM (Senior Induction Manager) meeting and we usually go through various aspects of the SFR. Someone comes along to speak to us about an aspect of the school and I look forward to learning more about other people's roles in the life of a school.

Thursday afternoon is always tough as, nearing the end of week, the kids and I treat ourselves to a night off with no lesson planning or organisation.

This is my night off to socialise and forget about teaching and catch up with my friends - it's vital not to let teaching over take your life! It will fill any space you give it.


Friday is a half day and it flies by.

While most other teachers head home, we head to a CPD course provided by the council. I have grasped any opportunity to learn more this year and develop as a teacher so have a course most Fridays.

I come away with new ideas to include in my lesson planning over the weekend before the week begins again...