Scotland's largest
and most effective
education trade union

Join the EIS

Created: 24 April 2012 | Last Updated: 30 January 2013 | Printer Friendly Version Printer Friendly Version | Make Text Smaller Make Text Larger |

hints from the professionals

We asked our EIS Student Members who are currently on probation what they wish they knew when they started their course. 

"Have a social life. Keep going to the gym, the cinema etc.  Don’t be a total recluse while on placement.  There’s more to life than lesson planning!” – Caleb Marwick

"Get to know fellow students on your course.  Someone else in your tutor group may have already taught a topic or have a great idea for teaching it.  Get your mates on the course to proof read your essays, share lesson plans, collaborate on projects, profiles and submissions.  They are also a good way to share your woes reminding you that you are not alone.” – Angela Fraser

"Listen to everyone.  Everyone you meet this year can teach you something or give you a different insight, so listen carefully to everything.” – Caleb Marwick

"You’ll learn more from bad lessons than good ones.  Not all of your lesson plans will necessarily work.  Don’t let it get you down, but really try to understand why.  It may be nothing to do with your teaching, but the insights these lessons give you are invaluable.” – Amanda McCartney

"Network.  You never know when you’ll be in another city in need of a printer, or moved somewhere you haven’t heard of on a placement.  Remember that teaching communities aren’t that big, so every good contact you have can be invaluable in the long run.” – Angela Fraser

"Take time to make friends on your course.  Probation years are a real rollercoaster of emotions, one minute you are up and the next you are at rock bottom.  The friends you make on the course will be invaluable through all of these times, and there are very few people who will understand how you are feeling and the stress you are under.  Not only this, but friends can give you great ideas for lessons when you are stuck with a topic, or can suggest different ways of delivering something.” – Caleb Marwick

"Evaluate.  If you have a good lesson, that’s great, but how do you make it better?  If you have a disaster of a lesson that is also pretty good because now you will understand how you can improve the lesson and make it better.  Take the time to ask teachers in your school to help you evaluate your lessons and be sure to act on any advice given.” – Angela Fraser

"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.  Right from day one the workload is huge.  However, the good news is that if you plan your time it is manageable.  Buy an academic diary or planner and plan your time so that you go to every lecture, do all the reading and complete your homework.  That said, be sure to plan in time for yourself, its just as important as the coursework.  My other tip would be to get yourself a lot of large ring binders now.  Trust me, you will need them to keep your coursework organised and be able to find information quickly while on placement.” – Amanda McCartney


Contact: