Tips for secondary Early Careers Teachers...and why you must join our 11-19 Science Early Careers Club

By Sarah Longshaw posted 09-09-2021 11:05


A very warm welcome back to all teachers and technicians – and to those just starting your first year of teaching, welcome to a fabulous profession!

I’m sure that as an early careers teacher, you will be feeling a mix of emotions - particularly excitement, nerves and anticipation – but please be assured that this is completely normal and most teachers, regardless of experience, feel this way at the start of term. I usually find that once I’ve completed a full cycle of the timetable, and met all of my classes, then things start to settle.

The following blog post about tackling first lessons is worth a read; I found the ‘Teaching with Bayley’ guidance really useful. My advice would be to try to learn student names as quickly as possible (lots of repetition of the names helps) establish routines (how students come in, move about, collect equipment, leave); and to focus on a few things rather than trying to do too much at once (one person talking at a time for example).

STEM Learning has an early career pathway for secondary teachers, designed to support you through your first years of teaching with suggested CPD options – online, residential and local, some of which may be bursary funded. On completion of a course, you will receive a STEM certificate and on completion of the pathway, you become a STEM Learning accredited early career teacher. Have a look here – one online CPD course I’d like to highlight is the very useful ‘Managing behaviour for learning’. You’ll find links to even more CPD via this handy factsheet.

This blog, by the same author I linked to above, includes some advice and reassurance as well as links to useful resources. On the subject of resources, I would start with what your school uses and then start to personalise and add in others; it’s very easy to waste lots of time searching for the ‘perfect resource’; do make sure you check them before use though Teachit Science is another good site and easily searchable. I would start with a few sites and then build from there.

Whilst on the subject of time, to start with things may take longer, as you get to grips with systems and procedures.  It’s a good idea to allocate some of your non-contact periods for specific tasks such as lesson planning or marking.  Make sure you have the dates that homework is set and collected in your planner too and that you know when you need to hand in your requisition list to your technician.

Try to take the time to get to know the people you are working with – technicians and cleaners particularly. Do make the effort to mix with other departments too – as a tutor it’s likely that you will be in mixed subject groups.

One thing you must do is to join the 11-19 Science Early Careers Club. Teachers love to share, so you will undoubtedly be offered lots of great suggestions by fellow professionals who are going through exactly the same experiences as you. Please let us know your thoughts so far - and you can also join in the discussion thread in the main 11-19 Science group here.