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Managing your CPD time

In your first year of teaching, it can be tempting to sign up for lots of CPD courses, but it is important to make sure you don't overdo it. Tiredness and stress can disrupt your personal life and health, becoming counter-productive and preventing you from doing your job properly. These hard-learned tips from Emma Galbraith should help you organise your CPD time before it becomes a juggling act.

Target your extracurricular activities

Choose things that will help you achieve your development goals. You might have stayed in school until 10:30 on Tuesday night for the S5 art show, but what did you learn from it?

Think first!

When asked to do something by another member of staff, politely tell them you'll have a think about it first. Don't be embarrassed to say no.

Always make your classes a priority

You could join in all the development opportunities under the sun, but if you can't deliver in the classroom then you're not getting anywhere.

Make sure you plan time for yourself

It's important not to let your hobbies and relationships suffer unnecessarily - it'll only make you miserable (and yet again, become counter-productive).

Learn some stress-management techniques

I felt that the recent EDC course on stress management was one of the most useful I've been on, but possibly the most effective technique is simply talking to other NQTs about how you're feeling - chances are, they're feeling it too.

Don't do too much

I'm still very busy at the moment, and I still get tired and grumpy from time to time. But I've learned the hard way that, although CPD is great and extracurricular activities can be good fun, it doesn't pay to do too much. Teaching is a difficult job, and there's no need to make it any harder than it has to be.

Emma Galbraith
English Teacher
Lenzie Academy, East Dumbartonshire