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We wish you a merry Christmas

Dear Colleague,

I hope that you have enjoyed your first few months as a teacher and that, following the busy period of Christmas parties and events in school, you will be able to look forward to your own Christmas break.

You will certainly have earned a restful Christmas break, one which comes at a significant point in your development as a teacher. With a few months of hard work behind you and your interim profile submitted, I hope that you will now enjoy a relaxing holiday which allows you to switch off and recharge your batteries before the new term starts in January.

Teaching is a very rewarding job but it is also a challenging one. Every one of us needs help to be as good as we can be. I hope that you are therefore benefiting from the support which the Teacher Induction Scheme offers - support which helps you to understand your profession more fully, to engage better with pupils and to extend and refine your skills and expertise in the classroom. Along the road to full registration we all have some rocky moments; and it is important that you are honest enough to recognise these, to talk about them and to seek help from colleagues and from your supporter. You will be a far better teacher - and will enjoy the job more - if you do.

Above all, I hope that you are now really enjoying your work in the classroom and the buzz which we all get from being part of a school community and participating in its events. Over Christmas, however, and throughout next term, please also take time to develop your life as a person! Being a teacher can overtake your life if you allow it to - and your strength as a teacher is your ability to relate to pupils and colleagues because of what you are and what this brings to the classroom. Try therefore to ensure that you have a balance between your professional life and your normal life.

Next term, you should be thinking about getting application forms ready for teaching posts which become available next session. Take care to present your case as well as you can, since the last few years have been difficult for those seeking first jobs. Don't be too downhearted if you have to wait to get a job- our own research shows that many jobs become available in the course of each session, even if some are initially offered on a temporary basis.

It is encouraging that Scottish Government and Local Authorities do seem to be beginning to give higher priority to securing more jobs for new teachers. Since over 40% of teachers are now over 50, we can also expect a number of retirements soon. In short, we will need all the teachers we are currently training to fill future vacancies. So, our advice is to start getting ready now by taking advice from colleagues locally about how you might maximise your potential in the recruitment round that normally starts in late February or early March.

In the meantime, best wishes to all of you for a Happy Christmas and for a successful 2012, full of high standards, including the Standard for Full Registration!

Best wishes.

Anthony Finn
Chief Executive