Prospective trainee teachers are getting prepared for their courses starting in September and over in the TES Student Teachers forum there’s a lively chat about the essentials you need to buy for your course.
Here are a few things that should be on your shopping list, as recommended by those who have just completed their teacher training.
Top of the shopping list for many is a printer: “Great for your essays and late night lesson plans” explains Ecolady.
Pantobabe agrees, “I don't think you would be able to get by without a good printer. Lasers are probably best, but they can be quite a big investment in one go, so I just got a normal Kodak ink printer. The black ink cartridge is only £6.99, I’ve been through five of these but just one coloured ink. Unfortunately some schools you may be on placement in have really funny policies about photocopying things so you may have to print lesson plans/ resources at home from time to time.”
If you’re in the market for a printer the current Which Best Buy laser is the HP Laserjet Pro P1102w, selling for between £100 – £110.
Other IT essentials include memory sticks and external hard drives to back up your computer or laptop. Primenumber bought a Sandisk Cruizer 16Gb for £20 from ebay and it has lasted nearly two years already, “I’ve organised/hyperlinked everything in there so I can find anything I want within 10 seconds,” he says.
Serious stationery shopping
The items most often mentioned by our trainees as essentials were files and plastic wallets (BTW Wilko seems to be the shop of choice for budget stationery).
Pantobabe says, “folders and plastic wallets are most definitely the most important thing to buy. Tip: file everything as soon as you get it. Especially in the first few weeks you get given so much paperwork that by Christmas you could get lost under it all if it's not filed”
Ecolady explains how she organises her training material: “Get lots of lever arch files, if you’re doing primary consider one file per subject, plus extras for admin and essays.”
While you’re stationery shopping other recommended items include Post-it notes by the cartload, a hole punch, a stapler and if you’re feeling a bit flush why not treat yourself to a laminator and a guillotine. For more on laminators read this discussion on choosing between an A3 or A4 model from the TES forums.
And for anybody going into primary or early years it makes sense to stock up on reward stickers. Pantobabe explains why, “stickers have been a godsend for me when on placements in KS1 and lower KS2”
Primenumber really values “a good planner that I write everything in.” And Pantobabe would be lost without a diary:” A diary is really, really important, a day to a page I'd say. It’s useful for writing in all of your assignment deadlines and also for writing a list of things you need to do at school first thing in the morning when you get in before your day of teaching.”
We had a few suggestions of books that are worth investing in from our NQTs...
For primary teachers Pantobabe recommends Derek Haylock’s Mathematics Explained for primary teachers. She explains why:” It has been my bible for this past year, and most other people's on the course too! I read this over the summer prior to starting my teaching training and it really helped refresh my subject knowledge.”
Thequillguy is a fan of Trevor Wright’s How to be a brilliant English teacher. Trotts69 likes Sue Cowley’s Getting the buggers to behave. While Jeoeke has found the Classroom Gems series of books full of good ideas. Jeoeke also recommends Learning to teach in the primary school by James Arthur and Teresa Cremin.
You should also check out the TES New Teachers recommended reads
Buy a decent bag
Finally you will need a decent bag, as Trotts69 explains, “there is a lot of lugging of the aforementioned large number of files. Get something roomy. I like the canvas supermarket shopping bags as they can fit lever arch files - but they are not great when it's raining. My friend has a trolley on wheels!”
Many thanks to all those who contributed to the Student teacher essentials thread and don't forget to add your own best buys as comments on this article.
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