top 10 tips 010916

10 top tips for the start of term

New to the profession and want to kick off the new term in style without crashing into the holidays, exhausted and bewildered? Or just want some reminders on how to preserve your sanity in the “busy-ness” of a new term? Try these top ten ideas for a great term ahead!

1 – Pace

Hit the ground running, yes, but remember you cannot sprint all the way through to the end of term. Pacing is crucial. Ensure you safeguard time off and book something relaxing to do during the half term break. Take care of your wellbeing on an ongoing basis so that your breaks aren’t dominated by sickness.

2 – Communicate

Colleagues can’t always be trusted to notice when you are struggling. Build sound relationships and talk about your concerns sooner rather than later. Be a good listener too. Don’t be afraid to admit when your workload gets too heavy.

3 – Keep it light

It’s so easy to get bogged down in the intensity of the term. If workload escalates, stress levels are bound to soar and we tend to find it harder to retain a healthy perspective that keeps our working lives from bleeding into every other aspect of life. Guard against that. Remember the things that make you feel good, and actually do them. Remember what calms you and what relaxes you. Plan enjoyable things for your time off and take note of the little things that boost your mood.

4 – Learn names

It’s wise to learn names as quickly as possible, not only for transforming behaviour but also to make relating easier too. Some teachers rely on seating plans for this, others choose to take photos – whatever works for you, do it.

5 – Rest

You cannot plough on, running on empty indefinitely. Something will give. Build adequate rest time into your working week and there’s a high chance you’ll improve efficiency. Resting leads to a win/win outcome.

6 – Smile

Ever been told not to smile until the holidays? Forget it! Smile as much as you can. You’d be surprised at how something as simple as a smile can help with building strong and effective relationships with the children and young people you teach.

7 – Reflect

Great teachers are reflective teachers. Find what works for you. Some keep learning journals, some make a note of what’s worked and what needs refinement, some jot a word or two down each day by way of summary; there are many approaches to reflection. The key is to find a way that works for you so that reflection becomes a feature of your day to day work.

8 – Collaborate

There’s so much we can learn through working more closely with others. There are bound to be opportunities for collaborative working so take them whenever possible. Joint planning can mean a reduction in workload, and working with a colleague on any difficulties you may be facing is bound to bring about speedy solutions. There’s no point in struggling alone.

9 – Learn

Your early professional development is an important bridge between your initial teacher education and the rest of your career. Identify development needs as soon as possible and find out how these might best be met. Colleagues can be a great source of development too so find out what areas of expertise exist in your school and fill the gaps in your knowledge!

10 – Thrive

Forget about surviving, your career is all about thriving. If you’re not enjoying your work, despite any challenges you may be facing, it’s time to take action. Aim to thrive rather than survive.

Whether you’re new or experienced, have a great term!

6 thoughts on “10 top tips for the start of term

  1. Great advice.
    Been in teaching thirty years now and maintaining energy levels is so important.
    Taking part in your favourite things makes you more alive and vibrant.
    Liked the advice about smiling too.

  2. Excellent advice. I particularly like the ‘thrive not survive’. If teaching is going to be your career it has to be manageable and enjoyable. If you enjoy it, the students will too (most of them) and your colleagues will like you better! If you are new to teaching (like I was 5 years ago) don’t expect to be able to do it all first time around … or even second time. Like anything aspects of teaching become easier with practice and experience. Don’t feel guilty that you aren’t perfect straight away. Sometimes the system seems set up to make you feel this way. Resist the urge to blame yourself. Good luck!

  3. I really like the thriving concept rather than surviving because this profession is to thrive. If you will start surviving then teaching will not be reflecting one, you will just focus on spending time at school and throughout the day will wait for the pack up time bell rather to think what is missed by you today in your lecture. Being a teacher i do believe that one should thrive for every second of this profession. It will give you ease, experience, confidence and above all a good bond with your students. These tips are really going to work in the start of term. Thanks for sharing such useful tips.

  4. Hurray ! Really great advice that keep us going . Reminding us the appropriate steps in a positive outlook of teaching profession.

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