Help I’m a New Teacher: Christmas Preparation Tips

It's been a while since I last wrote one of my help articles but that's not because I had forgotten about you all…

This week your assessments are due and hopefully you have already been sitting down with your mentor to discuss your progress so they can produce an accurate assessment of your progression. That's right, it's for your tutor to complete an assessment on you. It is important to remember that the content should not come as a surprise to you if you have been supported well up to now.

Assessment Checklist

Have you done the following?

  • Firstly, ensure you have given evidence to your mentor that shows how you have made progress since you started. Your mentor can then use this information when completing your assessment. If you have been following my blogs, you will know that I kept banging on about a portfolio of evidence.  
  • Secondly, don't set your expectations unrealistically high as you may have been an outstanding student but it does not always translate into an outstanding NQT to start with.

Tips on Ensuring you have a Well-deserved Christmas Break Involving NO WORK 

It wasn’t that long ago that I was an NQT.  Around this time of year, I remember the conflict between ensuring my family had a great Christmas and ensuring I was prepared for the return to school in the New Year. It took me couple of years and more than a couple of arguments with my wife to get my head sorted and get things into place so I could switch off at Christmas, enjoy it and return to school prepared and refreshed.

So, here’s my advice to help you have a great Christmas:

  • Mark everything before you break up; do not take any books home.
  • Produce a rough plan for the first three days of school in January and source the relevant resources. It’s important to think about the children's return especially if you are in primary; they will all want to talk about what Santa brought them, so a possible first days literacy could be, "What if Santa had got lost on Christmas Eve?" For Maths, a couple of problems linked to Christmas, “If Santa travels at ....mph, how long would it take him to travel...?” "If reindeer eat 1kg of carrots a day, how many will they eat in a...?”
  • Ask your TA to take your Christmas display down and if the children made it let them take it home the day term ends. Then you can prepare the wall ready for the next display.

I know the above seems like a lot of work when you have productions/special assemblies going on but the time to yourself it creates over the holiday will be worth it.  Be very strict with yourself - no school related activities between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. Work-life balance is important and you certainly don't want to start next term tired.

Finally, have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The first year as a teacher can be a difficult one, so here is some top advice from fellow NQT Tamsin, to help you survive your first year as a teacher

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