1. Have your timetable in your hands
Your mentor will have this ready for you. Make sure you know where all the classes are that you will be teaching. Also make a note of when the actual class teacher will be taking over.
For example, if you are taking Mr. Bob’s year 9 science class on Tuesday and Wednesday, he may be teaching them on Friday which means you need to make a note of what they have covered so you can plan the following lesson.
2. Get the class photos and seating plans ready for the classes you will be teaching
Class photos will be on SIMS (or another programme that your school may use). Make a note of the current seating plan when observing the class, you will have the opportunity to change it when you take over.
3. Take a look at the data of students
On the seating plan or class photos, highlight and annotate students who are EAL, SEN, higher ability, lower ability, if they have a TA with them, if they have a severe disability, etc. This will allow you to get to know your students better and allow you to easily differentiate if you have to. For example, I had a student with severe hearing and eyesight problem – I was made to wear a device around my neck every lesson so she can hear me and send the powerpoint to the TA as well as the student prior to the lesson. In addition to this, any worksheets used in the lesson will be printed on A3 paper or very large font just for her.
4. Take a look at the Scheme of Work of the school
I’ve attached an image of what it a SoW usually looks like. It gives you an idea of what will be taught throughout the year so gives you a chance to plan ahead.
5. Meet your department and other key staff you may need to know
Your department is who you will spend the majority of your time with. Get to know everyone and what their speciality is. I struggled to make physics interesting, so it was super useful speaking to the physicists in my department.
6. Dig deep into the shared drive
Your placement schools will have all the resources you need to teach so you hardly need anything, it will save your life with last minute planning. If possible, transfer everything onto a hard-drive or an online hard-drive like Google Drive. There is also the option of getting the school drive onto your own device if you prefer using that – so see the IT technicians for this.
7. Have a tour of the school
This will usually be carries out by your mentor or organised by your PCM (Professional Coordinating Mentor).
8. Find the best toilets!
9. Find out what websites and textbooks you will need.
For science, my mentors gave me access to every single online paid for resource I would need. For example, exampro (AQA), activeteach, exambuilder (Edexcel), kerboodle, showmyhomework, etc. These programs have access to textbooks, exam questions and other brilliant resources.
10. Get to know where and how to print
Find the best printers in the school. In addition this, there’s a method of sending things to print from home so when you get to school, you don’t have to log in onto the school computers – you can go straight to the printers.
11. Have a notebook to write down observations
You will most likely be observing for the first two weeks before you officially start teaching. Make a note of everything! Observe another subject if you can – Drama is always a good choice!
13. Meet the technicians
This will apply to you if you are teaching science. I cannot stress this enough but become best friends with your science technicians! They will be your life savers in practical work. Technicians have an important role in providing training support in practical work and how to structure effective practical sessions. So, if you have a lesson where you would like to do a practical, but you have absolutely no idea, then definitely go ask them – they are the experts. They have guided me in unfamiliar practical lessons – for example, how to dissect an organ or use a microscope.
That’s pretty much it from me. If I do have any other tips, I will edit the blog and add to it. Do let me know if you have any questions too by DMing me on instagram @thenextchemist .