If you’re not happy about something, do something about it.
This is probably one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given. It applies to anything in life and is equally appropriate in the classroom. The thing you’re not happy about could be a child’s behaviour, your workload or an abrupt member of staff, but no matter what it is, it won’t improve itself.
Get to know the people you work with.
And by this I mean the kids. People might not like this, but adults and children really aren’t all that different: we all want to be liked and we all want people to be interested in us. Invest some time getting to know a little bit about each child in your care.
Own your space.
Look at the room you’re working in. Does it inspire you? If not, it certainly won’t inspire anyone else. Populating the area with learning prompts is great, but don’t forget to have areas set to display pupils’ work as this will inspire them. Inject a little bit of yourself in there too.
Use a seating plan.
There are many reasons for this. The reason you give to the pupils is that it helps you remember names and get to know them. The real reason is that it doesn’t matter how good your lessons are, they’re more interested in their best friend than they are in you.
Focus on the long game.
You will have pupils misbehaving; you may be sworn at; you might even be punched or kicked. You will not get revenge, so don’t expect it. You cannot control the behaviour of others; you can only manage it. Put on a smile and diffuse any situations and then look for ways of making sure the same thing doesn’t happen again.
Do things your way.
You may have a colleague whom you admire. Perhaps they make planning look effortless, or maybe they simply walk into a room and silence falls. It’s likely that these super powers have been developed over years of struggle and hard work. Concentrate on finding what works for you. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably passed your degree, QTS and possibly found a teaching position - you have lots going for you
Make time for yourself.
I remember people telling me “You won’t have ANY free time.” What nonsense. Teaching is a busy job. It’s busier than most, particularly at peak times of the year, but in the midst of all of that planning, you need to plan some time for yourself. As with any profession, some people will take advantage if you let them. Don’t.
Know that you make your living making people’s lives better and smile.