A Gift from Me to You

I have mentored student teachers for the last three years and in amidst all the ‘how to teach’ advice I try to give, often the most valuable advice can be the in-the-moment tips and tricks that only experience can teach you. A while ago I asked EduTwitter to help me out with their best advice, and so here it all is, in one digestible post. Please do add more comments to keep the advice flowing! This post is dedicated to all the early career teachers out there who’d love to save an extra couple of minutes of the ever-precious school day! There’s so much advice out there for new teachers but these survival tips might just make that first term a little easier.

  1. Put staples in diagonally to save time later (here’s a terrible diagram of how it works!)Screen Shot 2019-04-10 at 17.14.53
  2. Keep bin bags and air freshener in your cupboard (air freshener particularly important if your children are aged 9 upwards…)
  3. Cling film your paint palettes and bin it at the end of the session (via @mrsbenno71)
  4. Save everything to an online cloud not a memory stick (via @AngelicCats)
  5. Baby wipes are an absolute must – use for wiping whiteboard pen off tables (yes, the children do prefer this to whiteboards generally!) ( @Snotlady5)
  6. Cat litter trays make great table centres (also @Snotlady5!)
  7. You can never have enough post-it notes (@missgriffithsy6)
  8. Keep the sharpening at the table by having a sharpener pot and a child responsible for emptying it…no queue at the bin!
  9. Have a record book for literally everything. I have a section of ‘Notes’ on my iPad which records this but it’s so useful for those bits of information like times tables, spellings, clubs, targets, last merit given etc – it’s brilliant! (@LucyGrif76)
  10. Buy as many biros in your marking colour as you can afford and keep a jar full of them (@mrpsimms). I would also add it’s worth buying nice ones so you have a more pleasant marking experience!
  11. Keep a small supply of toiletries at school (@Ms_H_2) – I’ve had several colleagues ask for this too so it’s not just for you!
  12. Hand sanitiser. Everywhere. All the time. (@etaknipsa)
  13. Keep one Sharpie in your cupboard and never bring it out. If you have permanent markers, make them look sufficiently different to the whiteboard markers… you can guess why!! (@etaknipsa)
  14. Keep a dustpan and brush and label it (@RETeacherSue)
  15. Always have something sweet to munch on when you need it (@juliedoyleRR21)
  16. Keep an umbrella and trainers at school – you never know when you might need them (@thecockerill)
  17. Keep a stash of spare glue and pen lids for when they are inevitably lost (@WhatMissDDid)
  18. Slice the top off a dried out glue stick and it will work again
  19. Ask children to give books in open on the right page so you don’t have to search for the work (@MissGill90)
  20. Put a mini whiteboard and pen (on string) up near your door for messages at home time (@jenwillis1)
  21. Don’t wear new shoes all day without wearing them in first! (@Miss_Thurman)
  22. Get things ready for the next day before leaving – you will love yourself when you come in (@miss_Lks1_)
  23. Make friends with support staff, cleaners, receptionists, catering team… you won’t regret it (@mini_lebowski)
  24. Resources in shiny plastic wallets can be written on in whiteboard pen and it comes off much more easily than laminated sheets (@MissEYear6)
  25. Take a notebook when saying goodbye to children and at parents’ evening so you can remember what they tell you (@Mr_AStorey)
  26. Use blu-tack to display things if possible (@SculptingMinds)
  27. Have a class list saved to your desktop or printed lots of times so you can edit it with all sorts of admin things that you’ll inevitably need (@gladstonebag)
  28. Keep a stash of old newspapers in your cupboard (@gladstonebag)
  29. Get children doing as much as possible – tidy book corner, sharpen pencils, give out letters etc, and have it on a wheel so everyone gets a turn (@MsIqbal_teachher) I would also add that it’s a great idea to have a reliable child as a ‘reminder’ to help you remember messages or to give things out. When your brain is fried, it’s a lifesaver!
  30. Last but not least, make the most of Twitter!



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