Aim high: Growth mind-set and high expectations are as useful for staff as they are for the students.


Don’t let a closed door, or a failed lesson, dampen your spirits. Keep trying, alter your strategy and persevere.


Offer rewards: like it or not, whether it’s sweets or stamps, rewards can motivate the unmotivated to learn, which also makes your life easier. Don’t forget to reward yourself too… Prosecco anyone?


Mark the important stuff – that’s the stuff that the kids will read, reflect on and benefit from seeing. No matter what your school policy is, you can’t mark everything to a high standard. It’s not possible or useful, and if you attempt it, you’ll become tired and bitter. The SLT may become upset, but they certainly can’t do anything about it – just refer them to your contracted hours.


Embrace your free time, whenever you can. Don’t spend the time you’re not doing school work complaining or thinking about school work.


Find somewhere you can hide. If you’re trying to get some serious work done but the staff work room is full of people trying to entice you into a moaning session, reading out their student’s work, or worse, giving you new jobs to do, then you need to find somewhere else…somewhere secret!


Get comfortable with being uncomfortable: If you’re in this game, you’re going to have to accept that there will be late nights and early mornings ahead.


Don’t be afraid to explore new territory: try different activities, get the kids standing up and moving around, plan something that makes your colleague’s eyes roll. If it doesn’t work, so what? Try something else!


Laugh, smile and joke around: with the kids, with the staff. A good sense of humour is absolutely essential when you work in a school…and kids really do say the funniest things.


Grab opportunities, but remain cautious. If you’re good at your job, chances are you’ll be given lots of extra responsibilities, which is great for career progression. Just beware of being given too much; even with extra pay, if you’re working so much that you start to dislike your job, it’s not worth it.


Think inside the box: I never thought I’d say this…but sometimes you need to pull back the creativity a little in lessons. Think about what you need your students to learn and how you can convey this in the simplest way. We all get carried away now and then making our lessons ‘all singing all dancing’ but with some topics, and some students, that’s actually the opposite of what they need.


Get organised and keep post-its nearby. Letting things pile up and allowing for last-minute nasty surprises is only going to lead to suffering.


Be yourself in the classroom. When I was in training, I wore heels and pencil skirts. I wanted to look professional. Now, it’s trousers and flats: equally smart, but I can leap about like an excited puppy when needed. I feel much more relaxed and like myself.


Reflect on your teaching, and your student’s learning, whenever you get the chance. A great teacher knows that the learning never stops; we can always be better for our pupils.


Find like-minded colleagues/friends who ‘get you.’ Schools are full of cliques – and I’m not talking about the kids. Be kind to people, take an interest, and you’ll be sure to find people who care for you as a person as well as a teacher. And of course, if it’s an option, sharing your workload is much easier than going it alone all the time.


Enjoy yourself – in the classroom, in the corridor, in the work room, at home.