Peer to Peer - Building your Experience

Teachers in their probationary period get the opportunity to ask more experienced colleagues for advice as they begin their careers in Scotland.

Q: I feel like I've learned a lot during my probation year, but am keen to keep the momentum going.  Any suggestions on how I do this?

A: Now that our probation period is well under way, it is worth thinking about building your experience. Here are some ideas:

1. Get involved in extra curricular activities where you can utilise your skills and hobbies. Remember to seek all necessary permissions. This is a great way to interact with the children outside of normal lessons and will look great on your CV.

2. Classroom-based research - many local authorities will ask you to undertake a small project as part of your probationary experience. This can be an excellent learning experience that significantly develops your classroom practice.

Even if this isn't a local authority requirement, why not pick a topic and give it a try?

3. School working groups - why not see if you can become a member of a working group/ committee. Many schools will have groups who address issues such as Health Promotion, Curriculum for Excellence, and use of ICT in the classroom. This is a good experience which will develop your knowledge and skills while giving you a chance to work with more experienced colleagues.

4. Observing more experienced teaching staff is a great way to develop your own practice. Observe as many teachers as you can and if possible, try to arrange visits to associated schools to see other ways of working. This is not only a great way to develop your own practice but can also help you to make contacts for the future.

5. If there is an issue that you've researched and would like to share with staff or you have particular skills which you can share, offer to lead a staff development session on an in-service day.

Again, this is a great experience that can be used on your CV.