Reality check

Nicola Baillie, who took part in the Teacher Induction Scheme, has kindly looked back at her year as a probationer and has submitted hints and tips which will guide you through your probationary year.

Get Organised

Try to get access to your classroom during the summer holidays. Speak to your head teacher to arrange this. Label trays, have pencils and rubbers ready and arrange tables and chairs to create space. Generally make the classroom organised and tidy. The children will appreciate meeting their teacher in a welcoming and well prepared classroom. A nice indoor plant really sets the classroom off.

Plan Ahead

Plan a variety of activities for the first week including writing, talking, games and storytelling to keep pupils busy and motivated. The first week you will want to get to know your pupils. Plan too much for the first week as it is better to have an abundance of activities as a backup in case what you have planned doesn't go as you had envisaged.
In the beginning you might want to set aside a day or a morning at the weekend for planning your work. Later on you can plan your work throughout the week so you can take the weekends off. You will find out what works best for you - try to have at least two nights off per week in the first few months of probation. The pressure does ease off as you find your feet.

Don't be afraid to ask

Don't be afraid to ask colleagues questions if you are unsure of anything. What I realised is that staff are more than happy to answer queries, no matter how silly or small they may seem to you. They will appreciate the fact you are making the effort to engage with them in the first week. Building positive relationships with colleagues right from the start will stand you in good stead for the rest of the year - their expertise and experience is invaluable.

Keep on top of your work

Tell someone the minute you feel you might be struggling or falling behind. Your supporter is there to help you.
Filling in your interim profile only takes twenty minutes a week - it is easily managed.

Use available resources

Make use of the store cupboards in your school - you can make maths games and spelling activities from the resources to be found here.

Enhance your skills

Make the most of your CPD day out. Enhance your skills by researching teaching and learning strategies, shadow other colleagues, observe lessons/pupil support. Do not waste your time planning for the next day.

Nicola Baillie
P3/4 at Park Primary School