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PLS Teacher Blog Number 9 – Megan

The Trainee Teacher Survival Guide


It is sometimes very easy to fall into what I call ‘the stress pit’. The stress pit is a mythological place that lives deep in my mind, I often imagine it as a deep, fathomless hole where light does not reach. It doesn’t help as I have a very nasty habit of digging this hole deeper and deeper, leaving me stuck at the bottom of my stress pit.

As you can imagine, training to be a teacher has its stressful moments. Don’t get me wrong it is an amazing experience and I am thoroughly enjoying it but like anything worth doing, it can be hard work. I decided to make a ‘trainee teacher survival guide’, which has helped me slightly so I thought it would be good to share.

  1. Don’t try and be a perfectionist, everyone wants to have the pristine lesson plan and amazing lessons but things don’t always work out like that in a school. It is hard to predict everything that is going to happen in a lesson, so give yourself some leeway. Don’t worry about the little things.
  2. Remember that you are a trainee teacher, you are expected to make mistakes and have little hiccups. Your school and your mentor are there to support you, don’t let a little mistake or poor feedback get you down.
  3. Organisation is key: I cannot stress this enough, you cannot write enough to-do lists or draw enough plans up. When there is way too much information going on in my brain, writing a list is always my saviour.
  4. This is one of the more generic ones but make sure you have a life. Having a life outside of your training is one of the main things that will keep you sane, being able to let your mind relax and think about something other than lesson plans and predicted grades will make you a much better teacher than a teacher who is unable to think about something other than school.
  5. Be a magpie (not literally): When I first started my training I had decided that I was going to plan every single lesson from scratch and create every resource possible, this was unbearably exhausting and nearly put me off teaching. We are lucky we live in a world where we have the internet and hundreds of lesson plans, resources, and Facebook groups to help us. Make use of these! Adapt them, they are here to help you become a better teacher.
  6. Don’t be scared to ask for help
  7. Make sure you’re keeping on top of PGCE assignments. I made the mistake of prioritising the wrong pieces of work and ended up pulling an all-nighter on a Thursday to make a Friday morning deadline; I haven’t done that since university and don’t plan doing it again.
  8. Lastly, ENJOY it! This is a once in a lifetime experience, you’re not going to go through your training year again so make the most of it.”