Schools Laying the foundations

Congratulations on making it through your first term! What an achievement. In a teaching career, it’s important to celebrate all the small achievements along the way – have a well-earned massage or buy yourself a bunch of flowers. Take time during the holidays to recoup and recover. Switch off from work as much as you can!

Then, when you’re ready, set aside a couple of hours to reflect on what you’ve learned and what you’d like to focus on in your second term. I hear the term ‘imposter syndrome’ come up a lot among graduate teachers. Let me tell you – you are not an imposter! You are committed to educating your students. You have great ideas, which you are willing to try, and you’ve certainly studied hard to get to where you are today. It’s important to acknowledge that everyone has a starting point, and Term 1 was where it started for you. You’ll look back at your first year and wonder why you ever doubted yourself. 

A checklist for thriving:

Have I got a mentor assigned? If yes – how have you been working with them? Are there areas where you need support and advice? If no – we want to support you with that. Mentors play a vital role in your first year. It’s your entitlement to be assigned a mentor by your school.

Am I getting a 5% reduction in my duties? Commonly this looks like additional planning time each week. Talk to your AEU rep or your organiser for help with this!

What does my work–life balance look like? I wonder if anyone has told you that, as a teacher, you always have many items on your to-do list. There is no perfect teacher! The important thing to work out is what you need to prioritise and to set boundaries.

Are there others I would like to include in my support network? This includes your AEU sub-branch!

Am I prioritising the right tasks? For me, this was huge! It took me some time to figure out how to prioritise tasks. Although new tasks arrive continually, some tasks have to wait. Try to work out what the most important things are and prioritise those – and ask for more time on administrative tasks if you need to.

Are you holding yourself to unrealistic standards?
Show yourself the same kindness you give your students. You are learning and will continue to learn throughout your career. It takes time to lay the foundations before you can start to build on them. Keep an eye out for AEU graduate events, networking opportunities and professional development.

Am I ready to start my VIT inquiry project? I know there’s a lot of pressure to get this done. Refer to the VIT sessions and website. I would advise having a conversation with your school about this process.

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