Did you know that a quarter of teachers in England work more than 60 hours a week, far in excess of their counterparts elsewhere in the world? Recent research found that teachers in England work 47 hours a week on average during term time, including marking, lesson planning and administration, going up to about 50 hours in the summer during the exam season.
It goes without saying that finding the time for anything other than your daily duties is extremely difficult. But what about helping trainee teachers who are taking their first tentative steps into schools? How can established teachers ensure that the next generation have the best experience possible?
Here’s what you should be doing to not only make trainee teachers feel welcome, but also help them hit the ground running during the first few months of the academic year.
Take the time to on-board trainee teachers properly
Even though trainee teachers will go through orientation on the standard INSET day, additional on boarding can make them feel even more at ease and comfortable in their new surroundings. After all, how else will they know where the amenities are, which toilets to use and how the photocopier works?
A good idea is to appoint a member of staff as a trainee teacher’s ‘buddy’ for the first term, who can look out for them on a personal level. Trainee teacher’s might not be willing to bother their ‘busy’ line manager with certain requests.
Ensure trainee teachers can access all areas
From their very first day onwards, trainee teachers should be treated exactly the same as everybody else. This means providing them with a staff badge/keys/card that provides access to the main areas of the school as well as its resources.
If trainee teachers need to scrabble around the school or plead with others for access to important resources, they’ll feel like they don’t belong. Time they could spend on more meaningful and enjoyable tasks will be wasted too.
Provide trainee teachers with tools to make their job easier
You might not be able to provide new teachers with a laptop and email address, but if you can stretch the budget, this expense is sure to prove an excellent investment in the long run. It will do wonders for their morale and help them get going straightaway.
Schools without the budget to do this could always use the money granted by a training provider and invest in a bank of laptops. This way, new teachers can still access shared folders and not miss out on any important emails.
Put trainee teachers through bespoke training
When it comes to training new teachers, make sure there is a programme which complements the provision provided by their university or school centre. For example, you could take the best of your current CPD programme and add relevant content that is new-teacher-specific around routines, lesson planning and behaviour.
“Schools that are spending time ensuring the best possible experience for trainees, reap the rewards of high-quality teacher environments, have fewer issues with recruitment and improve their retention,” says teacher and podcast host Phil Naylor. “Spend the time, I promise it will be worth it.”