We certainly hope you enjoyed your studies, and that you're looking forward to the next step in your career.
How are you feeling about the prospect of a ‘proper’ teaching job? On the plus side, you’ll be able to develop your own teaching style without the pressure of constant observation and assessment and very soon you’ll be memorising the names of your very own students.
This, of course, is what you’ve been preparing for. But that doesn’t mean the thought of ‘going it alone’ isn’t daunting. You’ll have a heavier teaching load and increased reporting and pastoral responsibilities – and that’s what it’s all about.
Recent changes to the England's teacher recruitment and retention strategy mean that we're no longer talking about NQTs (newly qualified teachers) - instead, the early career framework underpins a two-year induction period for ECTs' (early career teachers’) professional development. The aim is to improve the training and development opportunities available to teachers.
While there will be support in place, and overseen by a tutor and a mentor for each ECT, there's plenty you can do to help yourself settle in to your new career.
Wonders of the web
There’s lots to consider when you’re starting the next phase in your career. Getting your CV ready and choosing the right school is important, and so is knowing what to expect of your Induction programme. Forewarned is forearmed, and preparation time will never be wasted. It's not news to anyone, but as long as you have an internet connection, the world is your oyster. There is no problem that you can’t ask Google about, literally thousands of teachers use Twitter every day and there's lots of information for ECTs online.
At Hourglass, we hear a lot about our teachers’ lesson plans. It’s as if they represent all the highs – and the lows – that a teacher can experience in a classroom! We’re told that some of the most enjoyable teaching moments happen when the group is off-plan, and the teacher is winging it – in the best possible way. But one thing is sure, it takes an extremely confident teacher to be happy to go into a classroom underprepared.
Use materials that can be easily adapted for use with your classes. There's no need to reinvent the wheel: Experienced teachers have been creating lesson plans for years, and they're often incredibly generous with their resources.
Keep in touch
If you’ve had a good relationship during your teacher training, it is definitely worth keeping in touch with your faculty network. You may have taken part in a structured mentoring programme, and it may be that you could continue that in a more informal way. Tutors and mentors are likely to be flattered when you drop them a line, and most people would be happy to help or point you in the direction of the answer to your question.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, identify your teaching tribe. This could be your WhatsApp group from college or handpicked newly qualified teachers at your new school. Finding people who are facing the same day to day issues can be (almost literally) a lifesaver! Besides, there will be hundreds of things you want to ask and share that will only be truly appreciated by those who have lived through what you’re experiencing. Online chatrooms and forums mean that even if your peers can’t help, someone will be able to. Don’t be shy – virtual networks work too: TES is worth a try, as is The Guardian.
Don’t be a stranger
Hourglass consultants spend most of their time talking to teachers. This gives them a unique insight into what makes ECTs tick, and which placements provide the best start in a teaching career. They might not be au fait with the finer points of your subject knowledge – but they’re more than likely to give it a go!