Teacher Training Placement Advice Thread Watch

wonderland.16
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Thought I would set up a thread for those who are starting placement and have questions. Those of us who have already been on placement, a place to share advice. I know another perspective would have helped me when I started.

Lots of threads lately about this, about people needing advice re placement so I thought I would put all of my tips in one place

I'm in 2nd year on a primary ed QTS course.

Feel free to ask questions/add to the advice if you have some!


STRESS MANAGEMENT

- make sure you have some 'me time.' For the first couple of weeks of my placement last year I didn't and it affected me a lot.

- maybe set aside an evening in the weekdays and a couple of hours/day on a weekend to have TOTALLY OFF. It helps you relax, and focus more when you head back into it. Working every day is not healthy.

-talk to someone, especially people in your situation as they may have tips to help!

- don't let things build up. Make a to-do list and start knocking things off it before you start placement if you can- get ahead.


ORGANISATION

-this is key. On my course you have to have a working file. Keep this up to date as much as possible (but don't throw away your entire life for it- an hour a day should be more than enough)

- I now have an expanding file for worksheets/planning to go in, and a separate one for extra work/work children have missed. It saves rummaging through all of your stuff mid lesson! Find a way to keep your stuff organised in a simple way.

-have a set folder/box/place for resources. Whether they are laminated word mats or end of the day story books. Having one set place (I have cardboard, colour coded files for each AOL) makes it so much easier

-I have a 'teacher box' which I find super helpful. In it are reward stickers, egg timer, blutack, stapler, marking pens, Welsh key words pack, AfL cards and a few other things. I have this on my desk or wherever I am working with the children. The children know that it is my property, so don't play/move it unless I ask them to.

DISCIPLINE

-I was so worried about this before I started. SO tip #1, read up on a couple of behaviour management techniques. Know how to use them effectively so that you can draw on them if needed. Remember, each child is different and responds to a different method of discipline, so it's not a case of one method fits all!

- read the behaviour policy. Every school has one now. My placement school had a no shouting rule (unless someone was in significant danger). Make sure you follow their behaviour procedures. Find out the class procedures too.

- I've heard many teachers say, start off strict and work your way back. Don't let the kids undermine you. You are a TEACHER. Unqualified, yes, but that shouldn't mean the children run amuck with you! Remind them of class rules, and put them in time out if needed. They need to know they can't get away with everything with you either!

GENERAL

-Personally, I would never reveal my first name, age or exactly where I live to the children. It might seem obvious, but if a child complains to their guardian that you told them off, the child then holds information about you which could allow the guardian to locate you on a weekend or after school hours. Keep it professional. This situation may seem like a long shot but I have heard of it happening.

- Make sure you have fun with the kids and let your personality show. I struggled with this, and it was one of the only pointers my tutor had picked up on. Have a joke with the children etc, but at appropriate times.

PLANNING

- I met with my class teacher every thursday or friday after school to plan for the following week and do other paperwork required for my course (weekly targets and reflection on practoice etc). I thin had the entire weekend to plan for the following week. We would agree what I would teach and when and my class teacher would send me any resources she thought would help. Having a set day each week meant that I could take ideas into our 'meeting' which helped too.

- Don't forget about differentiation in your planning. Ask for help with this if you need to. Think about differentiation of resources too- I often forgot about this!


FINALLY (for now)

Have fun. Enjoy it while it lasts. Placement is an amazing experience. Everyone is nervous, and you have a right to be. If you are struggling, ask for help as soon as you can. From uni or the school, it doesn't matter. Take every opportunity you can, but don't overwork yourself! It's a lot to balance, and is very tough at times, but it's 100% worth it!

Good luck! Feel free to add to this/ask about something I haven't mentioned! My uni is lucky to have a teachers society, but not all do. Support is invaluable, so I hope this will have a similar effect!
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SarcAndSpark
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This is a great idea for a thread!

I don't have much to add so far (hopefully I will after my first secondary placement) but a few quick ones from my two weeks in primary:

-With younger children you may spend a lot of time crouching down or leaning over, so make sure you're wearing clothing that's appropriate for this.

-Do be careful with school car parks, some are locked during the day for safety reasons, so if you need to leave early on a particular day then you may end up trapped!

- Try to learn where important things in the school are- e.g. first aid and the toilets! This means you can help children who are lost/unsure about where to go more easily (this may apply less later on in the term when they know where to go).

-Make time to chat to teachers, if they have time to! I learned so much from these informal chats!
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Sciencess
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Thank you for starting this thread and sorry for going off topic. My questions apply for deciding to go into teaching and then a placement if I decide to go down that route. I have a biomedical science degree and am considering going into teaching. I enjoy being around children and my friends suggested I be a teacher as I enjoy mentoring. I am not sure whether or not I would be better off staying in the science field in the long run in terms of career prospects.
I'd like to ask what is the market saturation for teaching like? And what are the rates of pay expected when you are on training and when you are qualified? Obviously google and glassdoor.co.uk have figures but those are from a small sample. Any advice would also be appreciated, thank you
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Sciencess)
Thank you for starting this thread and sorry for going off topic. My questions apply for deciding to go into teaching and then a placement if I decide to go down that route. I have a biomedical science degree and am considering going into teaching. I enjoy being around children and my friends suggested I be a teacher as I enjoy mentoring. I am not sure whether or not I would be better off staying in the science field in the long run in terms of career prospects.
I'd like to ask what is the market saturation for teaching like? And what are the rates of pay expected when you are on training and when you are qualified? Obviously google and glassdoor.co.uk have figures but those are from a small sample. Any advice would also be appreciated, thank you
Assuming you'd be going to teach biology- there is a national shortage of teachers and in science the shortage is even more severe. There are regional variations, but in general you will not struggle to find a job!

In a state school you'd be paid according to the teacher pay scale, which you can easily find if you google, and you'd also receive a £26,000 tax free bursary to train.

If you're not sure if teaching is for you, then why not try to arrange some work experience in a secondary school and see if you think you'd enjoy it. Whole class teaching is very different to one on one mentoring, of course.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by Sciencess)
Thank you for starting this thread and sorry for going off topic. My questions apply for deciding to go into teaching and then a placement if I decide to go down that route. I have a biomedical science degree and am considering going into teaching. I enjoy being around children and my friends suggested I be a teacher as I enjoy mentoring. I am not sure whether or not I would be better off staying in the science field in the long run in terms of career prospects.
I'd like to ask what is the market saturation for teaching like? And what are the rates of pay expected when you are on training and when you are qualified? Obviously google and glassdoor.co.uk have figures but those are from a small sample. Any advice would also be appreciated, thank you
You will never be out of a job as a science teacher, especially if you specialise in physics or chemistry!
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clarkey500
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This looks like a good thread, Wonderland! I'm a 3rd year BEd student, so can back up what you're saying.

To add to the thread:

Before placement even begins:
As soon as you find out your placement school, email the school mentor (usually provided). They will then put you in touch with your class teacher. Always be professional when you do this and thank them for the opportunity – especially as your school mentor will put a lot of extra work in to help you.

Then find out what they are studying as you will probably be teaching it! Your class teacher will probably tell you this and you may find long term plans on the school website.

If you can, arrange to go into the school in advance. Granted you probably won’t find out which school you’re in until a few weeks beforehand, but this shows that you are really interested in the school. However, don’t push the school to do this as they may not have the time beforehand.

Make sure your folders are ready and you have enough of those colourful page markers to demonstrate where your evidence is in line with the teachers’ standards. This will save valuable time whilst on placement and you can buy these quite cheaply as well.

Ensure you are signed up to a teaching union. If something happens to you on placement they will be able to offer legal advice.

Organisation:
Stay on top of your folders. This is key to having a successful placement. After each lesson you teach, fill in your review and file it away with the page markers. Make sure you have blank observation sheets in your folder etc. This will save time faffing around.

Try and mark one set of books during playtime/lunchtime (or a mixture of both) but do leave time for having a break during this time. Set an amount of time, say 15 minutes, to mark one set of books during the school day, this makes it so much easier to keep on track of all the marking you have to do. Also, separate the whole stack of books into 3 piles, and treat yourself after each pile. It keeps you motivated to mark the books and for some reason feels like you are marking less books. Don’t worry if you don’t mark all the books during the school day either.

Discipline:
When teaching PE, especially outside, make sure you have a whistle – unless there is a specific reason for you not to have one. It makes it so much easier to control children with a short blow of the whistle. You can buy one quite cheaply too. I’d keep it in your teacher’s box.

Don’t forget to reward good behaviour. It’s easy to focus on the bad behaviour but give the children a chance to witness good behaviour being rewarded. There are many ways you can do this, the school may have a ‘traffic light’ system where the children’s names move up and down; tell parents how well behaved their child has been and when you get to pick ‘star of the week’ (or whatever the school calls it) for the first time award it for good behaviour. This will make it clear to the children what you expect in terms of behaviour and you can build on from there.

Health:
STAY HYDRATED!!! It’s easy to forget to drink when you’re teaching as you are doing a lot of work and talking more than you usually would. However, not drinking enough can cause all sorts of problems that will impact your teaching. Try and take in a water bottle and make sure you refill it during the day at least once. I try not to take glasses out of the staff room for safety reasons and they tend to stack up quite quickly if I do…
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wonderland.16
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(Original post by clarkey500)
This looks like a good thread, Wonderland! I'm a 3rd year BEd student, so can back up what you're saying.

To add to the thread:

Before placement even begins:
As soon as you find out your placement school, email the school mentor (usually provided). They will then put you in touch with your class teacher. Always be professional when you do this and thank them for the opportunity – especially as your school mentor will put a lot of extra work in to help you.

Then find out what they are studying as you will probably be teaching it! Your class teacher will probably tell you this and you may find long term plans on the school website.

If you can, arrange to go into the school in advance. Granted you probably won’t find out which school you’re in until a few weeks beforehand, but this shows that you are really interested in the school. However, don’t push the school to do this as they may not have the time beforehand.

Make sure your folders are ready and you have enough of those colourful page markers to demonstrate where your evidence is in line with the teachers’ standards. This will save valuable time whilst on placement and you can buy these quite cheaply as well.

Ensure you are signed up to a teaching union. If something happens to you on placement they will be able to offer legal advice.

Organisation:
Stay on top of your folders. This is key to having a successful placement. After each lesson you teach, fill in your review and file it away with the page markers. Make sure you have blank observation sheets in your folder etc. This will save time faffing around.

Try and mark one set of books during playtime/lunchtime (or a mixture of both) but do leave time for having a break during this time. Set an amount of time, say 15 minutes, to mark one set of books during the school day, this makes it so much easier to keep on track of all the marking you have to do. Also, separate the whole stack of books into 3 piles, and treat yourself after each pile. It keeps you motivated to mark the books and for some reason feels like you are marking less books. Don’t worry if you don’t mark all the books during the school day either.

Discipline:
When teaching PE, especially outside, make sure you have a whistle – unless there is a specific reason for you not to have one. It makes it so much easier to control children with a short blow of the whistle. You can buy one quite cheaply too. I’d keep it in your teacher’s box.

Don’t forget to reward good behaviour. It’s easy to focus on the bad behaviour but give the children a chance to witness good behaviour being rewarded. There are many ways you can do this, the school may have a ‘traffic light’ system where the children’s names move up and down; tell parents how well behaved their child has been and when you get to pick ‘star of the week’ (or whatever the school calls it) for the first time award it for good behaviour. This will make it clear to the children what you expect in terms of behaviour and you can build on from there.

Health:
STAY HYDRATED!!! It’s easy to forget to drink when you’re teaching as you are doing a lot of work and talking more than you usually would. However, not drinking enough can cause all sorts of problems that will impact your teaching. Try and take in a water bottle and make sure you refill it during the day at least once. I try not to take glasses out of the staff room for safety reasons and they tend to stack up quite quickly if I do…
Thanks for adding to the post!
Remembering to eat is also I point I will add. The children, even if it's seeing the rubbish in the bin or seeing you eating whilst walking past the door, will pick up on what you are eating. You have to at least *try* to lead by example. you can't preach to the children about healthy eating and then not eat healthily yourself!

And take all the tips and tricks you can. Even if you don't use them. If a qualified teacher says soemthing worked for them, try if out yourself and see.

Not sure how many people will actually view this post or find it useful, but I hope it does reassure those who do read it. I know it would have helped me greatly last year.
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Claudette
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This is a really useful post. Thank you.
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Spirithorse
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My key piece of advice for teacher placements, is take every opportunity that is offered to you. Even if it's to help cover an extra playground duty or stay late to support another teacher. Go that extra mile and listen to what is going on around you. This will help you to become part of the school and feel like part of the team.

Teaching is very much a team sport!

Also, the reality is that once you are qualified and teaching you will constantly be asked to help out with things that aren't necessarily your job. It's good to get into the spirit of that from the beginning

That's where I learned the most. I built strong relationships with the other teachers and then felt able to talk to them about questions I had or pick their brains.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by clarkey500)

If you can, arrange to go into the school in advance. Granted you probably won’t find out which school you’re in until a few weeks beforehand, but this shows that you are really interested in the school. However, don’t push the school to do this as they may not have the time beforehand.
Just on this point as a PGCE student I found out my placement a week and a day before going into school, and I'm in uni a minimum of 9-4 each weekday (and my school is about an hour from the uni). I don't think this is unusual at all. I think this is a nice to do, if you're in the sort of situation where you can do it, but I don't think it's essential as it's simply not practicable for most PGCE/post grad teaching students!

Anyway- my placement starts tomorrow, so hopefully I can start putting more of this into practice.
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04MR17
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Posting to subscribe to the thread (I've given it a gold title too).

I think I may create a TSR article on this when I have time.
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clarkey500
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Just on this point as a PGCE student I found out my placement a week and a day before going into school, and I'm in uni a minimum of 9-4 each weekday (and my school is about an hour from the uni). I don't think this is unusual at all. I think this is a nice to do, if you're in the sort of situation where you can do it, but I don't think it's essential as it's simply not practicable for most PGCE/post grad teaching students!

Anyway- my placement starts tomorrow, so hopefully I can start putting more of this into practice.
Yeah, even as a BEd student, I wouldn’t say this one is essential and out of my 5 placements, I’ve only gone in beforehand twice – both times during university holidays. Having said that, if you can go in early – do it! But the school won’t look down on you if you can’t.

Good luck with placement!
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SarcAndSpark
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Courtesy of Reality Check

Can I give you some tips for when you start teaching in your placement? This might be a little early but you can never be too early with this!

Before you even set foot in the class to teach, find out the school's behaviour policy. You could get this from your mentor before you even start. Kids are fond of seeing if you know the behaviour policy (?can I warn for this) and trying to confuse you.

Pump the class' current teacher for information. If you have access to SIMS, research the class. Find out SEN status and pupil premium kiddies. Check on the TAs for the class and speak to them if possible

Print out a photo sheet of the class and the current seating plan (again, you can get this from the class' current teacher). You can use the seating plan as a working document, i.e. if you see groups of kids which aren't working, or someone who's calling out, or someone who won't volunteer answers, you can mark it on your seating plan. They become really useful this way.

Essentially, forewarned is forearmed!
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vlulwis5
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Can you choose the same school for your placement each year and just go into different classes? Or do you have to choose different schools each time ??
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by vlulwis5)
Can you choose the same school for your placement each year and just go into different classes? Or do you have to choose different schools each time ??
To get QTS, you have to train in at least two different schools. If you're following a uni based course, they will choose and you don't get any choice. With a school direct/scitt course, you can usually choose your home school, but you will still have to spend time in a second school and usually this is chosen for you.
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