You have completed your initial teacher education, and survived, or even thrived, through your induction period. You are a fully qualified teacher with a raft of valuable classroom experience behind you. So what happens now? Are you cast adrift to sink or swim on a sea of planning, assessment and time management? Or does the support continue to bolster you as your teaching career takes shape?
Opportunities for early professional development as you emerge from induction are crucial for setting you on your way. Huw Tindall-Jones, a primary school teacher in Plymouth, has great advice for the recently qualified. He said: “Congratulations, not only have you survived your training and NQT year but you are part of an incredible profession. As an NQT, you should have had access to CPD courses to help you through your induction. As a recently qualified teacher (RQT) you have less of an entitlement to CPD but that doesn't mean you shouldn't receive it. Keep an eye out for opportunities to develop yourself as a teacher and if you are in a school that values you and wants you to be the best teacher you can be then they should encourage you to do so. The National Education Union and other teaching unions provide some excellent CPD and it is often low cost so keep an eye out for that. Just remember, you will never have all the answers! Take every opportunity to learn and develop!”
If you want to make sure your progression from induction is as smooth and productive as possible, try these initial suggestions:
- You are a fully-fledged teacher. Training has been a long road, most likely, but give yourself the chance to celebrate your success and reflect on what you have learned. Such pauses are vital in busy schedules.
- Think seriously about your wellbeing. How are you faring? What does the thought of another academic year feel like? What commitments can you make to yourself regarding your wellbeing? How will you make sure you create and maintain a healthy balance in your life?
- Are you changing school? Even though your induction period is over, you should still receive an induction into your new school. If this isn’t forthcoming, ask for more information.
- Seek our other professionals in your school and beyond for your professional learning network. Social media can be a great way of connecting with people. If your school has a book group that explores education writing and research, consider joining it. This will greatly bolster your commitment to ongoing professional learning.
- Work on relationships and collaborations. You may find that you can achieve more with and for your pupils in partnership with others, especially if working in this way is supported and facilitated by your school.
- Consider finding out more about the learning paths your students have been on before reaching your classroom. Finding out about phases that come before and after your own is likely to enhance your understanding of the profession, break down misconceptions and guard against working in a silo. Do it. You won’t regret it.
- Set some fresh targets for yourself beyond your induction year. This will help you to shape the direction of your career and help to guard against the inevitable tensions between your own professional development needs and those of the school you work in.
Finally, if your experience of induction has left you questioning whether teaching is the right career for you, you have several options. The most obvious is to leave and do something else with your talents. But perhaps the wisest option is to explore the possibility of teaching in another school. It’s not uncommon for recently qualified teachers to move schools until they find one that “fits”; a strategy that is most definitely worth considering.
If you are moving on from induction in the new academic year, good luck!
Find out more…
Don’t forget that your union can offer advice if you are struggling post-induction. The Education Support Partnership is a valuable source of support too www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk
About the author
After graduating with a degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading, Elizabeth Holmes completed her PGCE at the Institute of Education, University of London. She then taught humanities and social sciences in schools in London, Oxfordshire and West Sussex, where she ran the history department in a challenging comprehensive. Elizabeth specialises in education but also writes on many other issues and themes. As well as her regular blogs for Eteach and FEjobs, her books have been published by a variety of publishers and translated around the world.