Becoming a whole school teacher

As a member of the school team and not just a classroom teacher, there will be strategies and ideas in place to support you when you need. These tips suggest how you can get to know your whole school as well as your classroom.

Get used to being the "new teacher"

Take some time getting to know your way around the school. Expect some pupils to be helpful and give you clear instructions to get from A to B and for others to send you in the wrong direction. It's all part of being the "new teacher".

Learn your school layout

As well as knowing where your class is, learn where the other departments are - you may have to send a pupil there at some point and you can work out if they have skived off somewhere by the time they take!

Get to know school policies

There may be a recognised code for marking and a homework policy, so get to know them. Know what to do if there is a racist remark or obvious bullying in class by having an agreed policy behind you. These will all make your job easier, safeguarding you should a parent question your actions.

Give and take knowledge

Many schools like to have a new member of staff on a committee because they are fresh to the profession. You'll come in with knowledge of the latest research and ideas from your teaching practice and induction year. Remember to learn from those already in the school - new thinking balanced by experience.

Take part in school trips

School trips give you a chance to get to know pupils out of the school study environment. They can test you if you are not prepared. Try a few out which are organised by a colleague and learn the ropes. You'll find you have to count pupils over and over, on, off and in the bus so organisational skills are a must!

Shadow another teacher

Even if it is in another subject, shadowing lets you watch for strategies, interaction and classroom discipline. You also get to see how other teachers have their classroom set up and how they manage resources. Most teachers are happy to have you there but don't force yourself onto a teacher who'd rather not!

Be part of the team

There are days when a whole school activity needs your help. Timing a race or getting costume changes ready for plays. You may not want to wear a red nose every second year for charity but being part of the 'event' will work wonders for your school "cred" and you will probably enjoy it!

Break down staffroom barriers

Staffrooms can often end up segregated by maths teachers sitting together or PE staff claiming a corner. Lunch or interval is used to talk about a subject problem. It's important you talk to other teachers about other issues just to relax and get to know your colleagues. It's easier to do this in primary schools than larger schools.