Become a Teacher• 3 Min read

14th July 2021

Preparing To Teach In Secondary Schools

Are you starting a new role in a secondary school this September? Whether you’ve worked in a support role or volunteered in schools before, or you’ll be stepping into the classroom for the first time, we’ve put together our best advice for preparing to teach in a UK secondary school!

Research Your New Workplace

Once you’ve got a confirmed job offer from a school, you want to dive into finding out as much as you can about it. Most schools have a mission statement and ethos on their website which you’ll have likely studied before your interview, but it’s a great idea to go back over that and any other more in-depth information that you can find on the school. You should also make yourself familiar with school policies. These details expectations for teachers both on and off school premises. Depending on how far away you live, you might want to start planning your journey in – test the route whether you are driving or using public transport to make sure you arrive on your first day in plenty of time to orientate yourself.

Plan For Your Future

As a teacher, planning is a huge part of your job, and you’ll need to become a super-planner to become a great teacher. There are lots of ways you can prepare for your first teaching role, from making sure you have all the right equipment with a classroom essentials checklist to planning your wardrobe for the term, (Try out Pinterest board of Teacher outfit inspo!) You’ll also need to start planning lessons. If you are reading this because you’ve completed your training and are about to start as an NQT, you’ll probably already have a reasonable idea of how to start planning a lesson, but if you are just entering Teacher Training and will be starting in a school for the very first time this September, you could try our Beginner’s Guides. They’ll arm you with the basics:

If you haven’t already got organised, the time is now. Experienced teachers will tell you repeatedly that organisation is key, especially in secondary, where you’ll likely have 4, 5 or even more classes of 30 different individuals per day! If you’ve always found paper diaries hard to manage, try an online application, we love Workspace (previously Trello) and Slack for visual organisation. Our teachers also make use of Monday.com and asana, so it’s important to try them out and find what works for you.  Taking a stock check of your personal stationery supplies is a good start to keeping organised over the year, but don’t expect to have much left at the end of term! We’ve got a printable checklist of classroom essentials for new teachers available to start you off.

Build A Support System

It can be daunting to know you’ll be taking over the educating of young minds in just a few short weeks. Having a great support system can really help! Reading experiences of other teachers online, through blogs or by searching the #edutwitter hashtag will give you a good idea of what to expect from your time. It’s useful to have in-person support too, so connecting with local teachers at a similar career stage is a good idea – whether they be current or previous colleagues or classmates, or try local Facebook groups. If you feel worried or anxious, there is dedicated support available to teachers through Education Support UK – make sure you know where to go if you are struggling. If you are a training or newly qualified teacher, you’ll have a mentor which you can bounce problems and ideas off – usually an experienced teacher in the same school. They’ll be able to support you with everyday concerns and can be a fantastic sounding board.

Make The Most Of It

Teaching is a busy job and it isn’t always 9-5. If you are moving into a new role,  make sure you take the time over the break to relax, unwind and mentally prepare yourself for the first term. If you’ve taught in primary school and are moving into Secondary, you might use the holiday to brush up on your subject-specific skills or take explore CPD courses relevant to your specialisms. Try Creative Education for high-quality, only CPD courses, and don’t forget that Engage candidates get free-forever access to their course and pathway library  – find out more about this exclusive perk here.

Seeing family and friends, spending time on your own hobbies and self-care are equally as important as all the organisation charts, planning and stationery supplies! Take the opportunity to take a break from daily life, relax and rest your mind before you dive into teaching!

Wherever you are teaching next term, we wish you the very next of luck and hope this article has helped to prepare you for an exciting year. If you are still looking for that dream teaching role, our team are on hand to help. Register your details below to join Engage Education.


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