How to Prepare for your Teacher Training Year

Congratulations – you have been accepted onto a PGCE course and have become a Maths Teaching Scholar. But what can you do to help prepare you for the year ahead? What can you do now over the summer holidays to help you thrive during your teacher training year? 

1. Get some rest 

Make sure you take plenty of rest over the summer. This might be hard if you are moving into teaching from another job, however, it will be worth prioritising a holiday before you begin your training. Teacher training can be exhausting, so you want to start the year as fresh as possible. 

2. Get your house in order

Once you begin your training year, you might find that you have limited spare time.  This means that you should think carefully about the non-teaching related jobs which you want to achieve during your training year. It is probably not the ideal time to renovate your kitchen, move house or get a new puppy. Get as much admin done before you start your year.  If you are planning to move into new accommodation, try and do this with time to spare so that you can get yourself sorted before the hard slog begins. 

3. Plan your boundaries up front

Have a good think about what you want your work-life balance to look like before you start your training. For example, you might plan to always have one day completely off each week. Other teachers focus on always completing their work in school before they go home.  It doesn’t matter if you change your plans, later on, the main thing is that you always have some boundaries in place to stop you getting burnt out, even if you have to review and change them from time to time. 

4. Do some reading 

Once you start your teacher training year, you might have limited time to do any reading around your subject. (Apart from set-texts or essential research which you have to do as part of your course.)  Now is the time to read a couple of books which could help you later on.  Your course may have given you summer holiday work to do, otherwise, you can take a look at Mr Barton’s suggested reading list

5. Go shopping and invest in an iron

You will need to look smart for your teaching placements, so it is worth doing some shopping up front.  On the other hand don’t overdo it, as you don’t know where your placements will be. Schools do vary when it comes to how smart they want you to be – particularly for female teachers.  Some schools will ask their female teachers to wear suit jackets, whereas in other schools wearing a suit will make you look like you are going for an interview. Buy a few basics and then you can do some more shopping once you know where you have been placed. It is always better to go extra smart on the first day and then tone it down, rather than the other way round.  You may also want to consider investing in a new iron. 

For anyone with piercings, tattoos, or unconventional haircuts (purple/blue/green etc.) you will need to talk to your school upfront about what is allowed. You can’t just assume that they are OK with you wearing a tongue stud.  Again, different schools will vary, so use your common sense and have a conversation with your school mentor before you start. 

6. What equipment should you buy? 

You will probably need a good laptop or computer to work on during your teacher training year. Once you start your first job, you might be given a laptop, or iPad, which you may or may not be able to take home. It is really hard to know exactly what you need upfront, therefore it could be a good idea to put some money aside and wait until you are a few weeks into your course.  This will mean that you can talk to your course tutors and get advice from fellow students.  

You will also need a good USB stick / external hard drive to store all your files on. You should also have a rigorous routine for backing up your files and essays during the year.  Many teachers have lost a memory stick with everything on, causing themselves a big headache. In the new era of data protection, you should get into good habits from day one. Are you carrying sensitive data on your memory stick? What is the policy of your school when it comes to student data? Hopefully, you will receive some training in this area. 

7. Get excited

Your teacher training year could be tough. However you are also allowed to look forward to it, and it is perfectly normal to feel both nervous and excited about the challenges ahead.  As a Maths Teaching Scholar, you have been selected as someone who is passionate about teaching. This means it is perfectly fine to feel excited about your teacher training year. Enjoy the summer – but also look forward to the year ahead!