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Five tips for a successful start to the academic year

A new academic year is a great opportunity to review what worked well last year and consider what you could do differently to maximise your success.

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite pieces of advice directly from our Scholars – from ITT to FTS alumni – to share with you ahead of the beginning of autumn term.

1. Stay organised – in a way that works for you

“Don’t keep everything in your head,” Danny, a Year 6 Scholar, advises. “I use my planner constantly – my planner is my bible. For school duties, I make sure I log these on my phone so I have something that’s notifying me when I need to be somewhere.”

Lucy, who graduated from the programme in 2023, prefers not to use planners or apps. “Personally, I’m not really into using technology. I have a draft email open which I’m constantly editing to add to my to-do list.”

We encourage you to explore different ways of staying organised and find one which works best for you.

2. Utilise existing available resources

Although you might feel that you should be creating new learning assets for your lessons, this often isn’t necessary – and will only increase your current workload.

“Don’t do everything from scratch,” advised Jaden, who completed the FTS Programme in 2023. “Especially for maths and physics, there are so many resources online and in your department that other teachers have created that there’s almost never a lesson you’ll need to make from scratch.”

3. Establish your work/life boundaries

Autumn term is the longest term of the year. So although you have just returned from the six-week summer break, we would advise you to try and (re-)establish consistent work/life boundaries as early in the academic year as possible.

“I try to do as little at home as possible,” commented Annie, a Scholar who completed the programme in the 2023. “I prefer to stay a little longer at school. If I work too much in the evening, I don’t actually stop working – so I try to draw a line under my workload when I get home.”

4. Let the positive outweigh the negative

A positive-focused mindset is an asset as a teacher; it’s crucial to not feel like a bad teacher after one bad lesson.

FTS Programme Director, Nina Dhillon, gave advice to ITT Scholars at our last conference: “I think when the nights get darker, it’s easier to focus on the bad days rather than the good. So, what I would say is: be kind to yourself as [teaching] is not easy. Even on the bad days, remember the good ones and keep going.”

Amjad Ali, who spoke at our ITT Conference in December, reiterated this message. “You can’t judge yourself on the outcome of one lesson – you have to reflect, tweak, change and adapt.”

5. Ask for help whenever needed

Tia, who completed the programme in 2023, shared that the most useful piece of advice she received was to not be afraid to ask for help from other teachers. “It took me a long time to take that advice,” Tia said, “but it is definitely beneficial going to any teacher and asking for help – about students, lessons, or your wellbeing.”

In addition to your colleagues and fellow Scholars, you can also reach out to your RTC Coordinator as well as the FTS team at EDT should you require any support going into the new academic year.