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Saffron Blake: Maths Trainee - Harris Academy St. John's Wood

Cohort 2021-22

October 2021

Saffron blake“How did you prepare for your first few weeks? What should you bring?”

Waking up on the first day of training, I felt every emotion I could possibly feel simultaneously; scared, excited, nervous, eager, terrified… 

That morning, I thought, ‘have I completed all of the forms?’, ‘am I going to get there on time?’ or maybe, ‘am I even good enough to be a teacher?’. I’m sure you have all had similar thoughts as well, so you are not alone!  

Thinking back to before my first day as a fully-fledged teacher who is going to change every little human being’s life for the best, I was slightly irrational in how I prepared. Watching every ‘Educating Manchester/Essex/Birmingham’ episode, making notes from YouTube videos of ‘life as a trainee teacher’ and even buying all the unnecessary (or necessary) personalised pencil cases and stamps.  

Now, watching these episodes may have been entertaining and did enlighten me to some behaviour management issues within inner city schools, but what I should have done, and what I recommend you do to prepare for you first few weeks in school, is the following: 

  • Have a diary that you will use: I did buy a fancy one online but, in reality, the one I am most happiest using and that is organising my time efficiently is the one the school has provided – you could even use your phone! 

  • Build a good rapport with all the teachers in your department. As a trainee maths teacher, there are different methods and techniques to teach the same topic. I found it useful to ask teachers who have taught a range of abilities what method has worked best for them. 

  • Know where the department resources are – this is a huge one! I have only just navigated my way around the spider web of resources that my department has on a shared drive, so spending half an hour just going into different folders, having a look at the documents, would be so beneficial since it will help you with your planning.  

  • Have a folder on you, like a pocket wallet folder. I take this to every lesson, and it contains; my timetable, the homework timetables, seating plans for each class, and I can also put paper resources in there, categorised for my classes. 

“Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.” – Rita Pierson 

This year will be a journey, it will be a very bumpy one, so buckle up! Remember, never forget your first memory of why you wanted to teach. Stay true to who you are, stay true to your values – students want to see the real you to believe in you.