Saturday, 11 April 2015

I've got the job - now what?

Treasure this last summer as a non-teacher. It will probably be the last holiday where you will actually want to do work, want to get into school and not spend the entire time avoiding pupils outside school (assuming you live near your school).

However, whilst you've got the luxury of time and energy, this is what I'd recommend doing over the summer before you start.

1. Assuming you've already met your class during a transition period, familiarise yourself with any additional needs your children may have. Although your school will almost certainly have resources for your SEND children, it might be worth researching the particular needs with which you'll be working and any specific resources that would be useful. (For example, I teach an ASD child who is obsessed with Dora the Explorer, so I found a load of "Dora" resources I could use and adapt when teaching.)

2. Get into your classroom and blitz it (and rope someone in to help you!) The teacher before me left her/my classroom an absolute tip. She'd taken everything she wanted with her, so I spent a good two days with my mum emptying drawers, shelves and cupboards. By the end of the first morning, I wasn't even looking at thins anymore - there were so many teetering piles of old worksheets that I just ended chucking them out in their hundreds. Keep ring-binder folders if they are in good condition - you will need as many as you can get your hands on! It is so nice to start afresh when organising your classroom; that way you know where everything is, and it's much easier to maintain throughout the year!

3. Start your displays off. Check if your school has a display policy first, and then back and border all your boards. You could decide on them all now, or wait until you start teaching. Don't complete them all before the children come in - children will take one look and then they will most likely become wallpaper. Use one/a few (I only have three display boards, so I had to opt for one!) for learning resources (e.g. synonyms, punctuation, mathematical language, topic words etc.) and leave the rest for displaying children's work.

4. Sort out your stationery drawers. If you're lucky, they'll all be beautifully labelled and organised by the previous teacher. If not, do it now. The essentials: scissors, rulers, glue, whiteboards, whiteboard pens, scrap paper, coloured pencils. The "luxury extras": sharpeners, rubbers, pencils, felt tips, plain paper, lined paper, squared paper, card, highlighters... The list goes on. A lot will depend on the age group of your class, available resources and space etc.

5. Buy yourself a mini laminator and guillotine/strimmer. And label them with your name. These will be like gold in school. (Although, a little tip I learnt from Miss H NQT (@lilolvee), if you're laminating something to be written on with whiteboard pen, use sticky back plastic instead - it wipes off SO much more easily!)

6. Infact, label everything (that is actually yours) with your name. I brought in things like an electric sharpener, a big holepunch, a set of Horrible Histories, and other things that would always mysteriously go missing in school had they not been vigorously attacked with my label-maker!

7. Label the children's books. Unless a TA usually does this for the teachers.

8. Sort out your school clothes. Because this will be 71% of your wardrobe now. (Literally - 5/7 days is 71% as a percentage!) Whilst you're at it, join us on the hashtag #trendyteachers with pictures of your school outfit - we're all always up for ideas! 

9. Get a professional Twitter. Although if you're reading this, I'm guessing you probably already have. (It's always best to separate your personal and professional accounts, though - other edu Twitters are likely to unfollow you if you start RTing tumblr posts or "average girl confessions".) I'm sure I don't need to reiterate the advantages of a teacher Twitter account - you can read @Miss_Trainee's blog post all about it: CPD at the Bus Stop

10. Catch up with friends. Because seriously, you will find almost no time to do this during the term, especially if said friends are not teachers! 

Please let me know if you think I've missed anything important out!

Find me on Twitter @_MissieBee (previously @Miss_RQT)


  1. Be careful when you 'blitz' your classroom. I ended up throwing away some year 9 folders, which it turned out contained some GCSE work the kids had started at the end of KS3!

    (The last teacher had declined to tell me/not left a note saying that the folders contained anything important.)

    Fortunately we started the GCSE course anew in year 10 as 1) the kids had forgotten what they'd learnt in year 9 over the holidays and 2) it's what the SoW suggested.