Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Rookie Mistakes

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Rookie Mistakes

Article excerpt

I was nearly at my door when the racket in the cloakroom suddenly ceased. Clearly Helen had got there first. Helen is a trainee working with our year group and she's proving to be something of a godsend.

I like having student teachers. They take up a fair bit of time, but the benefits mostly outweigh the drawbacks. Their lessons vary greatly in quality but I've been fortunate to have hosted some pretty good future teachers over the years (including one so brilliant that I was the one scribbling down notes in her lessons). I was also mentor to Jamie.

Jamie came to me for his first ever teaching placement. As a first-year student on an education degree, he was barely out of school himself - and it showed. Jamie spent a lot of time looking at his shoes or out of the window. He struggled with the pupil-teacher transition and would leap out of his chair when I told the class to stand up and sometimes call out answers to questions. He was reluctant to enter the staffroom and, on one occasion, put up his hand to ask if he could go to the toilet.

Jamie clearly needed some help fitting into his new role so I started giving him small groups, reminding him that he was the teacher and his job was to explain the task and help the children to complete it. After a week or so I decided he was ready to teach solo so I sent him to the library to lead a small design technology lesson. Half an hour later one of the children came back to tell me that Sam and Ashley had been throwing books. …

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