As a newly qualified teacher you will now have already secured a job in school for September or will be in the process of interviews for vacancies.
Once you have secured your post it is important that you make time to visit the school BEFORE the summer term ends and for a period of at least a full day.
Irrespective of where you currently live in relation to where you will teach, you must make the effort to phone the school and arrange for your visit.
It may be the case that the school has already contacted you to arrange a day and certainly many will do this. But if they have not then don’t be nervous about calling the school office and getting a date in the diary.
The purpose of your visit:
There are many things that you need to get to know and organise during this day – so that is why it is important. There are also things that you will not be able to do, or will find difficult to do after the school has broken up for the summer holiday – so again its important to get these things sorted out.
Let me put down a list of what you need to do / find out and make a brief comment on each as we go…..
- Meet the staff – you will either be given a tour of the school by the HT / DH and introduced as you move from class to class or you will be introduced in the staffroom at playtime or lunchtime….all you need to do is say “hello and that you are looking forward to starting.”
- School dates and calendar – the office will have these listed as a printout and should be able to provide you with this. It will show you all the dates, term start and end dates and teacher training days.
- You should also be able to get from the office a class list for your class next year – if they say they haven’t done it yet ask for this years list (obviously from the year back….so if you are Y3 next year ask for Y2 this year)
- You should also be able to get a staffing list…although there may be some changes that you need to make (one of them will be you!)
- Either on your tour or at some point during the day you will probably get the opportunity to sit in with your future class – not as teacher but just to observe. You may pick up a few names and the teacher may introduce you but just soak it up!
- Again at some point you will get the chance to visit your proposed classroom – probably playtime / lunchtime but you will be able to see what it looks like – there is no need to do anything but you could ask the current teacher if there is anything about the room that you need to know…(too hot, board difficult to see , seating room etc)?
- You will get to know who is your mentor as an NQT and probably meet them just for a quick chat. They might agree to exchange telephone numbers so you can contact them over the summer if necessary. If they don’t suggest this I would ask if its possible.
- Many schools will have a welcome pack for staff which contains all the information you need to know as a new member of staff (inc dress code) – if your new school has this then you will be offered the pack – if not then you could ask.
- Here’s a few vital ones you need to know….
- What is the schools approach to planning and assessment (how is it done) and what topics if any are set for your class for the Autumn term (you may get a list for the whole year …that’s ok)?
- What are the schemes of work that are used in school for Maths and Literacy and ask if its possible to take a copy of either the teachers book or children’s text books that are used?
- What dates is the school open…often schools stay open for 2 or 3 days after term ends and will usually open for about 1 week before the September term starts – but it can vary so do ask?
- Arrange to chat to the teacher who has your class at the moment – ask questions about the class to gain as much information as you can. Groupings, ability levels, behaviour, seating arrangements (who can and can’t sit with who), medical information, SEN children and any other information that he/she thinks its vital that you know. If you don’t get a chance to meet briefly with this teacher ask them for their email address so that you can collect this information over the holiday period. Its important that you have this information as its your starting point for your children and classroom.
The above are the basics of what you need to know, see and collect on your visit. It really only needs a day but its a tiring day as everything is new and you begin to realise the responsibility you will be facing.
However be friendly and outgoing – ask questions for everything you need to know and if you need explanations or don’t understand something then say so…..colleagues will be only too happy to help and guide you.
Armed with all this information you will begin to feel the realisation that you have made the grade and that THIS IS YOUR SCHOOL !
At this point you don’t need to worry any further about what to do or sort out or arrange. Primary practice has an online course entitled “Preparing for September” which will help you through all the things you need to do. It will guide you from the 1st point you step into your class to sort it out before the term starts and through every step that follows.
I hope this short article helps you in your first visit to your school – enjoy your day.