Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

What advice would you give to aspiring teachers?

Hear advice from teaching professionals to help you on the next stage of your teacher training journey.
My first day teaching was probably the scariest day of my professional life, but that’s the good news because it only gets better with the more experience that you have. And you’ll get bombarded with so much stuff and you’ll be thinking every lesson needs to have this and this and this and this and have I done this and have I done that, but while you’re learning all this take it one step at a time, break it up. In today’s lesson I’m really going to look at kind of my questioning techniques, things like that, and build it bit by bit until you can start putting all those bits together.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself when you first start out. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes and that’s really okay. Don’t give yourself a hard time if lessons don’t go the way you thought that they would do because you’re just going through that learning process and in that process you’re becoming a better teacher. Sometimes you can just kind of roll with that and enjoy the fact that the lesson has gone a bit different or, if it doesn’t go quite as well as planned, be reflective but don’t beat yourself up.
The right planning, by talking to the right people, by trying new things, you get better and better at it and in the end it just becomes something that’s natural and you enjoy it. Be creative with the way that you teach. Don’t just stick to how your mentor does it or how your previous teacher has done it. Think of new ways to teach something and be inquisitive and make the children inquisitive and make them excited and be excited yourself because if you’re excited, they’ll be excited.
You’ve got to love your subject even the things, the aspects, or the topics of your subject you don’t enjoy, you’ve got to find a way of enjoying it because if you’re not enjoying teaching it the students are going to pick up on that. One of the mistakes I made very early on was trying to do everything myself and actually I learnt very quickly that it’s not do-able, it’s not sustainable, but enabling students and facilitating them to do things for themselves and empowering them actually worked really well for the students and for me as well.
The lesson observations are key within your department, outside of your department, whatever works for you, but taking ideas from others will help you become a better practitioner. Be open to observing, be open to team teaching. Every teacher is different and by observing others and working with others you’ll find the approach that suits you best. I sought a lot of advice from some really great teachers in my first few years and I would say that’s probably the best thing I could have done.
As a leader, as a school leader, I would much rather someone came to me and said “What do I do here?”, and for me to have a two-minute conversation with them and make sure they knew what they were doing and were able to do it, than to find that they’ve gone off and been anxious about it or even worse gone off and done something wrong.
If there is a question that you’re asked by your student that you don’t know the answer to it’s really important to say to them “I don’t know the answer to that I’ll find out for you”, and if you do say that to a student please, please do ensure that you do pursue that and follow it up and find out what the answer to that question is. Students really appreciate you getting to know them. At first just getting to know their names makes a real difference but getting to know what they like, their hobbies, their interests, weaving that into your lessons can really help lift the lesson for a student and make them more engaged. Every student wants to learn.
Every student wants to be praised and every student wants to feel like you like them. It may not always seem that way but if that’s the case it just means you’ve haven’t quite found the approach that works with that particular student, so keep at it and when you find that right approach for that student it will pay off in the end. As a teacher you are doing a fantastic job on inspiring and having an impact in the lives of young people, so remind yourself of that. Especially at those days when it’s been a hard day, maybe the kids haven’t done what you wanted or maybe they didn’t quite understand what you were getting at. Remind yourself you’re having an impact.

We asked our teaching professionals what hints and tips they would share with anybody who was thinking about getting into teaching.

What do you think?

Does any piece of advice particularly resonate with you?
Do you have any advice that you would share?
This article is from the free online

Teacher Training: Choosing the Right PGCE for You

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now