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Inside Teaching : April 2010
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org TEACHING TIPS 29 You’re not super-human and no one expects you to be. TIP 2 : DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASk FOR HELP Ask for help if you need it. I clearly remember moments during my first year out when I found myself thinking, ‘What am I doing here?’ and, ‘I’m just not sure I can do this.’ When I had times like this I found that getting together with other teachers, whether in the staffroom or walking around on yard duty, and just talking to them was a huge help. If I had a difficult student, or a situation that I just didn’t know how to handle, these informal chats often provided me with ideas, but also with the extra bit of confidence I needed to tackle the issue head on. Sometimes the problem you face may require a bit more than an informal chat. In my first year I was assigned a class called ‘Models, Boats and Planes.’ I didn’t know much about models, boats or planes. I thought it sounded interesting, though, so I was happy to give it a go until I walked into the classroom and realised that it had been timetabled in a metal workshop. I’d trained as a Science teacher and I felt prepared to teach in an environment with its own safety concerns, but a room with welders, cutting machines, circular saws and so on was absolutely terrifying. I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable teaching in that environment, but I was also worried about going to my principal and looking like I couldn’t cope. I eventually plucked up the courage to talk to my principal who totally agreed with me and thanked me for bringing it to her attention, and I got the class moved to a more appropriate room. Asking for help, I discovered, isn’t a sign of weakness. Your colleagues have all been there and will recognise this. TIP3:LEARNTOSAYNO Learning to say no may sound like a strange tip, but I actually think this was one of the most important lessons I learned in my first year out, although I did have to learn it the hard way. Being my first job and in my probationary year, I was naturally eager to impress, so I put my hand up for absolutely everything. This meant that I suddenly found myself not only having all my classes to organise, but also helping to run the student representative council, organising the Maths relay team and doing the