Once you’re on your school placement the class teacher (primary) or the head of department (secondary) is the person you’re most dependent on and it’s he or she that writes the report on your performance. Here are a few tips to get them onside...
- Try to stay on the right side of the class teacher or head of department. Stay cheerful and offer to help them with extra tasks in the class or department. They can make your job much easier or more difficult.
- Find out what time your classroom teacher arrives and try to be in the classroom at the same time or earlier. It is easier for a teacher to be positive towards you when you show you are keen.
- Always ask about anything you don’t know. No one will think you foolish; in fact they will like your willingness to learn.
- If you find yourself working with a teacher or head of department who is unhelpful, make sure your college supervisor is made aware of this.
- If the teacher keeps wandering off and leaving you to cope alone, try not to complain unless it is a very challenging school because it might make you look weak. If you can cope alone, think of it as an advantage because it will give you confidence. Sometimes it is easier to cope without the scrutiny of a teacher’s critical eye. Remember that class teachers cannot write a negative report on you if they have not seen your faux pas. If you really cannot manage, just ask the teacher to stay in for the whole of the lesson.
- If the class teacher or head of department tries to press extra responsibilities onto you tread carefully. If you don’t think you can cope say something tactful like: “I don’t think I can manage that on my own, but I don’t mind giving you a hand with it.”
- If a parents’ evening takes place while you are there, ask if you can sit in or observe some of the interviews. This will be a useful opportunity to pick up a few tips on how to handle parents.
- If an Ofsted inspection is taking place during your placement teachers will be taken up with that for the week and will probably have less time for you. Don’t worry because the inspectors will be looking more closely at how the senior management supports it students rather than scrutinising you.
This article is taken from The Trainee Teachers’ Survival Guide 2nd Edition by Hazel Bennett and published by Continuum. You'll also find the latest on Continuum's range of books for trainee and new teachers on the Continuum blog
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