The New Teacher’s Survival Guide

Training to become a teacher requires hard work, commitment and a passion for educating children. Most teachers, having finished their training, look forward to a long career in their chosen profession.

LmspicHowever, according to statistics one in four teachers will quit the profession within the first five years of teaching.

Earlier this year a survey carried out by The Guardian reported that “in England 43% of the state school teachers polled said they were planning to leave the profession in the next five years.” The report concluded that staff recruitment and retention is in crisis.

The Education Support Partnership offer support and specialist programmes for everyone working in education. They receive around 29,000 calls to their 24/7 helpline each year, and about 25% of those calls are from teachers who are in their first 5 years of teaching. Naturally new teachers are afraid to say they are unable to cope and don’t want to jeopardise their position by asking for more support.

With the first term of a new school year well under way, we’ve put together 3 top tips to help you make the most of your first year of teaching.

  1. Plan your work-life balance

It’s notoriously difficult to get work-life balance right, especially since most teachers do 20% of their work before school, in the evening or at the weekend. This process also has to be constantly revaluated as changes in career progression and personal life fluctuate.

The best starting point for assessing your work-life balance is to keep a diary for a week, logging activities at school and at home. List everything you do and how much time each task/activity takes. Include even the smallest of details such as phone calls or photocopying, as well as teaching time and non-work activities.

Once complete, look back at the diary and assess if there are ways to deal with your workload more efficiently. Look at patterns and set specific goals.

  1. Sleep

Sleep deprivation leads to irritability, forgetfulness, lower tolerance of minor annoyances, and less efficient planning. Restful sleep is essential for thinking clearly and reacting quickly. Make sure you get time in the evening to switch off and relax. To help with sleep and ensure your mind isn’t whirring, try a short meditation. Writing a list of things you must do the next day can help you to unload. Bed-time rituals, such as having a warm bath and drinking a cup of chamomile tea, before you go to bed will also help ensure you get restorative sleep.

  1. Say No

One of the biggest issues for newly qualified teachers is saying no. Keen to prove they are up to the job, newly qualified teachers will often try to impress by taking on additional work. Be clear on what your role is and what is expected of you. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can talk about any additional work later, before committing to it. It will give you time to assess if you really can manage the extra work.

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