Sunday 27th March 2016
Your first year in the classroom is here and you’re excited and maybe apprehensive at the same time. You’ve done some placements and teacher training, and now you’re being given full autonomy. The keys have been handed over, and you don’t even know how to brake, steer or accelerate yet.
We’ve all been there, and we’ve all survived to tell our story. You will come out of this a stronger, better teacher. Your first year is when you’ll learn the most, so buckle up your seat belt and get ready – it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!
The New Teachers Stress-Busting Formula: John Had Pineapple Maltesers In His Very Eccentric (and) Private Dessert
#1 – Journalise!
Get a special notebook. This is going to be your ‘screw-up record book’. In this book, you should write down every mistake you make along the way (and you will make lots, trust me!). Read through your book on a regular basis. Even better, do this process as a group or with a friend and have a good ‘ol laugh about it together! Reflect regularly on what went wrong – this will stop you from making the same mistakes repeatedly.
#2 – Humourise
I‘m going to warn you – in your first year there will be times when you just wanna cry, or worse, give up completely and walk out. At these times, treat yourself to a few minutes of humour. Watch a comedy show on your phone and get some giggle therapy! My favourites include Just for Laughs – Gags, Trigger Happy TV and Little Britain.
#3 – Prioritise
Everything takes longer when you’re a new teacher. Your colleague who’s been in the game for ten years can mark 30 notebooks in 30 minutes, whilst you’ve only done 5 in the same time. For this reason, you need to really plan what you do with your time very strictly. Use your ‘free periods’ to effectively do your admin, and make sure, crucially, that you plan what to do in advance of your free time. Build up routines. Maybe you can do 30 mins of marking every morning before you start, or maybe Thursday evening is your planning time. Get a schedule together, and modify it when it doesn’t work. Stick to it when it does work.
#4 – Musicise
We all have songs that are dear to us and that uplift us. A good session of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or ‘Billie Jean’ is enough to get me going in the morning! Which songs motivate you? You may find that when you’re down in the dumps a good song or two can really change your mindset. If you can’t think of any that do, then just type ‘inspirational uplifting music‘ into YouTube and you’ll soon be up-spirited with loads of great playlists.
#5 – Idolize
Idolize is probably too strong a word to use (but it ends with ‘ize’ and keeps the coolness of this blog post flowing ;-D). Look at what your colleagues do well, and find out how they do it. Model their behaviours. If the Head of Science can engage and work well with class 11G, then you can too. You just need to find out what she is doing that you’re not, and then make attempts to copy that behaviour (and add your own spin to it too).
#6 – Herbalise
When the Nazi’s were bombing London in the Blitz, a common phrase kept people going: A cup of tea can solve anything. It’s true. If possible, go for chamomile or peppermint teas as they are very relaxing, but any hot drink will do. If coffee is more your thing then treat yourself to a hot cappuccino. Bring tea bags and coffee sachets into work for those moments when the work never seems to stop. A good 30 minute break with a hot drink can really help to calm you down and give you a fresh focus.
#7 – Visualize
Remember why you’re doing this job. Thing of all of the young lives you’re improving in your work. Focus on how it’s not all about you – it’s about something bigger than you. You are a very important person. You can inspire hundreds of young people each day. Visualize your lessons before they happen. Spend a few minutes each morning or evening visualizing the next few lessons you’ll teach. Visualization, when done frequently, leads to actualisation. Make sure you actualise the best lessons you can possibly teach by first visualizing the ideal outcome.
#8 – Exercise
Haha! ;-D We all knew this ‘ise’ was coming. A healthy body lifts your mood. I’m not talking about being a marathon runner or even going to the gym. You don’t need to be super fit, but please stay active. Even a 10 minute jog or some push ups in the morning before work can really get the blood flowing and make you feel great. Don’t be intimidated by gym enthusiasts if you’re not that type of person – regular, decent exercise that’s not too overbearing is all you need to stay happy and healthy.
#9 – Prayerise
Prayer power is magnificent and should be a part of your daily routine. Whatever your religion, offloading your worries and fears to a divine presence can only bring more calmness and relaxation into your life. In addition, integrity is important to the human heart and most religions offer a way to maintain and improve upon your personal values on a daily basis.
#10 – Deputise
You’re probably juggling too many things at once as a new teacher. You can give some duties to your students. This will build up a sense of responsibility in them, and it will make your lessons more efficient. Are you always scrambling to hand out student notebooks at the start of a lesson? Choose one student to be in charge of notebooks for your class. Make it a special responsibility for being a mature student. He or she can hand out the books, collect them in and be in charge of storing them away and keeping them tidy. Think of other areas in which you can use this principle too, but don’t go too far! Assigning a student to hand out and collect the coloured pens each lesson is great, but asking students to do your photocopying for you is not cool.
Did you enjoy this blog post? Why not check out Richard’s book? It’s available as a paperback and a Kindle file.