Top Tips for Trainee Teachers 

It can be a tough time training to be a teacher.  Here are a few Top Tips that teachers sent in to those in their first year of teaching.  

Prefect’s Training 2019 – Kingham Hill School

Feedback from teachers in their first year of teaching

Respond to pupils’ parents and other staff with calmness. Reacting to a comment or email immediately can make communication more difficult in the end.  Listen more than talk. Pray for the Lord’s grace and wisdom with anticipated tricky conversations and emails.  

Use your training year to practise good habits (e.g. not complaining in the Staff Room) rather than seeing it as a uniquely different year ‘and things will be easier next year’. 

In your training year, aim for one lesson a week that you think is excellent. In your NQT year, try for one a day.  

To survive teaching you really need to leave perfectionist tendencies at the door. There will always be more you could do but you need to learn when you’ve done enough.   

It’s so important to guard some rest time each week.  It’s very easy to spend every waking hour working during term time and, while holidays are great, you do need some rest each week. 

Be realistic about how much time you can spend reading the Bible and praying during the week.  Find out what works for you and stick to that.  Enjoy more time with the Lord at the weekends and in the holidays.  

Pray for your pupils, especially the tricky ones. 

There’s always more to learn – observing others to look at specific things you want to learn or improve at is very helpful.   

Pray lots, listen lots and then pray some more! 

Ask questions all the time! If there’s a bit of jargon or school terminology you don’t know, just ask straight away.  If you’re wondering how to handle something or what decision to make, ask! You can’t ask too many questions. That’s what the first year is for: use the knowledge of all the staff around you! 

Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint, don’t feel you have to have everything going perfectly straight away.  The first five years are needed to learn your craft. Focus on what’s gone right in your day or your week not on the things you wish you had gone better. The Lord will undertake for you.  

Going to bed is often wiser than staying up late working – a lesson plan is unlikely to be perfect. 

Positive early communication with parents about your pupils helps to build relationships – parents are pleased and pupils feel affirmed – and it helps when trickier conversations are needed.  Parents and pupils listen more to criticism when they know you see the positives too. 

Guard some rest time each week

Be in places where you don’t have to be in and serve where / when you are not expected to do so… find ways to go the extra mile with pupils and staff. Be a blessing to people.  

Teaching is a rollercoaster of emotions: that big high when a kid understands something can be quickly followed by a low when pupils don’t understand anything you’re say! Understand that highs and lows are part of the job.  Keep going and don’t assume that a low means you’re a bad teacher. 

Conclusion – an appeal 

Do you know Christian teachers early on in their career? TISCA would love to support them. Why not forward this blog to flag up TISCA? 

They can email gensec@tisca.org.uk to get in touch and get involved.

This article was recently published in our print edition of TISCA News and Views (Article 17 – Top Tips for Trainee Teachers, Spring 2021 edition 82.