New session, new challenges
This month, we welcome to the teaching profession 2,067 new teachers who begin their Teacher Induction Scheme; and we also welcome the smaller group of colleagues who will seek to gain the Standard for Full Registration by the less formal, Flexible Route.
The Scottish Teacher Induction Scheme was described as world class by international analysts OECD in 2007. Whenever I meet colleagues from other countries, they express admiration for the scheme which provides a one year school placement as part of a very positive, and supportive, initiation into the teaching profession. If you are joining the scheme, you are entitled to considerable help and advice, including a mentor, CPD support and no more than 0.8 FTE teaching commitment till Easter 2012.
Whether on the Induction Scheme or on the Flexible Route, we hope that you all will find your probation period to be both valuable and constructive. Local authority and school staff are highly skilled in supporting and mentoring new teachers and past experience suggests that our new colleagues can expect the next session to be stimulating and enjoyable - if also quite challenging and very tiring!
Although you can expect to work hard and learn a lot, please also remember to ensure that you have a balance in your life. Teaching can become all absorbing but you will be a better teacher if you maintain other interests. So, keep doing the things which make you the person you are - don't forget that teaching, however important, is still a job!
We also offer our congratulations to those colleagues who have now completed their probation, attaining the Standard for Full Registration in July 2012. You are now fully registered and you should be very proud of this achievement, you have already proved that you have much to offer pupils and the wider profession and I am sure that you will however agree that you will become an even better teacher if you keep learning new skills, not just in your first years in teaching but throughout your career. In this regard, I hope that the new professional standards and the new system of professional update which GTC Scotland will be introducing this year will be able to help you to become as good a teacher as you can be.
Congratulations to those of you who have gained a permanent job, you will no doubt be looking forward to being in charge of your own pupils. If, however, you are in a temporary or supply job, remember that you can still build up skills and experience which will be valuable to you in your application for jobs and will stand you in good stead later in your career. Watch out too for new posts opening up early in the session.
Above all, enjoy teaching. It is a noble profession and there is great satisfaction, both professional and personal, in seeing pupils whom you have worked hard to motivate, begin to enjoy learning, make good progress and succeed in reaching the standard you have set for them.
Good luck to you all in session 2012-2013.