United Teaching Blog


Tips for Trainee Teachers, From the Experts


Read advice from experienced teachers and educational experts to help you get ready for your teacher training:


“Keep seeing as many lessons as possible, any subject. One of the best ways of developing at any stage.” – Amy Walters, Assistant Principal at Paddington Academy


“You are a role model; everything that you do and say matters...but even more so how you do it or say it.” – Oli Tomlinson, Regional Director at United Learning


“Whatever is going on, however you feel, stay positive and keep smiling, always. This simple thing, if you manage it, will have a profound effect on the relationships you have with children and other staff. Be an energy giver, even when it feels like you have none. This energy will come back to you in bucket loads if you create a positive culture.” Harrison Littler, Assistant Principal -  Staff Development, Torquay Academy


“Enjoy every minute with your students, they learn from all you do not just what you say. If you fail it's okay” – Matthew Pullen, Primary ITE Lecturer


“From a Governor: think about joining a Governing Body. Read minutes of your school's GB meetings which will give you an insight to what it does.” - Naureen, Co-Founder of UKGovChat      

“Prioritise sleep & health. Everything else follows.” – TeacherWithBike, English Teacher


“Read The Confident Teacher by @HuntingEnglish, it's very reassuring and somehow calming.” - RosyKat, Maths Teacher


“1.          Never stop projecting an iron-clad belief that every child (and adult!) you meet can learn, can contribute is valuable.

2.            Be the adult in the room: set boundaries with love and stick to them like glue. 

3.            Never stop learning: dive into scholarship & craft of teaching, learn with others, root your learning in outcomes for pupils.” – David Weston, CEO of Teacher Development Trust


“You are sometimes the only adult figure who will show them empathy, respect, kindness. That is an honour. Act accordingly.” – Shea Wong


“See the good things you do as well as those you need to change.  Find the good in each child you teach.” – Danny, Headteacher


“Set out your stall: get your routines rock solid and be kind always!” – Claire Stoneman, Deputy Headteacher


“Find some semblance of work-life balance and don’t compromise – self-care is vital.” – Graeme Ross


“Every day you will also learn and grow yourself… Never stop learning just because you are the teacher! Have a #growthmindset” – Michael Hughes


“Having the odd cry is OK - and expected!” – Scott Alexander, Physics teacher


“Be rigorously honest with yourself about what went well and what didn’t.  Look to improve what didn’t as fast as possible but never beat yourself up about it.  Your task is to learn, not to be perfect.” - Jon Coles, Chief Executive at United Learning     


“Listen to and have time for the parents – even the tricky ones.” Sian Rowland, PSHE Teacher and Education Writer


“Look and learn from others.  You are a rookie and have a long way to go – the support of others is essential.” – Estelle Burton, Business Studies and Economics Teacher


“Don't gossip in the staff room! Remember that everything you do should be about your students. If it isn't adding value, stop” - Clare Sealy


“Be organised, keep on top of any portfolio of evidence required – Enjoy it! Look after yourself – a burnt out teacher is not a good teacher.” – Ms Tucker, Lead Practitioner


“I would advise not to take any extra responsibility until your teaching is solid.” - @ahopefuldad


“Monitor your sleep, diet and exercise.  Reducing attention paid to these is a false economy.” -  Andrew Foster, Head of Education at Tougher Minds


“Make it clear you like children/young people. Seek to enable.  Never to control.  You are there for them. Love learning & risks.” - @Ayniel_R


“1. Remember every day is a learning day. 2. It is a marathon not a sprint. 3. Ensure you know what you stand for and then stand for it.” – Jason Rhodes, School Based Improvement Advisor


“Seek advice and personalised feedback from experts who know you and your teaching.” – Adam Boxer, Oxbridge and Medics Co-ordination, Head of KS3


“Important to have a brilliant mentor who can support you and translate generic advice into concreate relevance.” – David Weston, CEO of Teacher Development Trust 


“Personal and professional development more often than not go hand in hand – life enriching – embrace that.” – Simon Feasey, Headteacher


“Don’t be hung up on being the best, just try to be better than yesterday.” - @thoclaxton


“We suggest - get organised! #stationery and learn from others. Watch and learn from best #teachers in classrooms.” – Darrick Wood Teaching School 


“Invest in supportive and critical friends/colleagues.  Acknowledge your breakthroughs and remind yourself of these! Laugh lots!” – Miss Ajak, Science Subject Leader at Goresbrook School


“Smile and love each and everyday. You know mistakes will be made, some days tough but that is what makes you stronger.” – Chris Dyson, Headteacher


“Less email writing more speaking to other staff in person – easier to set the perfect tone.” - @BelkHistory


“Keep talking to colleagues – you will have rubbish days but others can help and support you if you let them.” – Emma, Maths Teacher


“You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.  Remember that.” – Jonathan Lisseman, Associate Headteacher at Hammersmith Academy


“See as many teach as you can all through your career, but visit with a colleague; never alone.  It is the talk that fuels the learning. When you visit a class on your own, you have just you and your experience.” – Paul Garvey


“Learn students’ names as soon as you can.  And use them!” – Steve Adcock, Deputy Director of Academies at United Learning     


"Don't do anything that doesn't add to learning.  Always ask yourself - what are they learning." - Fiona Ritson, Whole School Literacy Lead #TeamEnglish


“Dress smartly and polish your shoes: students will respond positively to your professionalism.” - Dame Sally Coates, Director of Secondary Education at United Learning


"Get to know the school office staff.  They are a mine of information about all things operational." - Micon Metcalfe, Academy Finance Director and Fellow of NASBM


"Parents are the other adult in the classroom! Involve them sooner rather than later and  make an effort to develop your relationship with them.  Don't let parents evening be a shock... Postcards are appreciated.  Use the school planner.  Communication is the key.  Involve them sooner rather than later. If a difficult conversation has to be had then rehearse with your mentor." - Yassamin Sheel, National SCITT Lead for United Teaching

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