This post is especially for those on various teaching placements around the country at the moment and here are some things I remember finding useful as I progressed through TP getting advice from various class teachers.
- Set a time limit when writing your lesson plans. I used to say 15 minutes max per plan. Some take longer than others, science used to take me ages whereas art might take ten minutes. But as a general rule, if you are labouring over a plan for too long maybe change direction.
- Big books are great for theme based learning in the junior classes.
- Try not to use the tired old themes that are used over and over again. I am sure some inspectors have seen Room on the Broom used one hundred times over when TP falls around Halloween , likewise with broad themes like Winter or Autumn. Narrow it down and try using a less well known story book. I used themes such as The Rainforest, Pirates, Communications, The Media, Ocean Explorers and Tom Crean.
- I believe classroom management is the hardest part to get right on your first TP. It is such a broad term but really it means behaviour management, timing of lessons, pitch of lessons, use of resources , use of appropriate methodologies and so much more! Basically you need to run a tight ship and be strict for the first while.
- Try keep up to date with corrections and don’t just tick, leave a comment too.
- Have lots of displays on the walls but be sure to include photos of your displays in your folder so the inspector knows they are yours and not the class teachers.
- Have a song or a quick oral language game ready for transitions between lessons, something other than GoNoodle which again is so overdone!
- Try to always use concrete materials in maths, with all classes.
- Use the teacher resource books as a guide but don’t just lift lessons from them.
- Use flash cards showing the new vocabulary which will be learned in that lesson. You can do this for all subjects. There should always be new vocabulary taught in each lesson.
Remember don’t be afraid to ask the class teacher for advice, especially if you’re lucky enough to teach with a teacher who has ten/twenty years experience. There’s very little more experienced teachers haven’t seen!