10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Teaching



When I started teaching 6 years ago I thought I knew everything there was about the job. How wrong I was!

Here are a few things I wish somebody had told me back then about being a teacher:

1: It gets easier.

Planning lessons will get quicker as your subject knowledge broadens. (You don’t know everything yet, and that’s OK.)

2: Keep your chin up.

Some days you will go home feeling like your class haven’t learnt a thing that day. Tomorrow is a new day. You’ve got this.

3: Don’t be scared to move.

Just because this school doesn’t feel right doesn’t mean teaching isn’t right for you. Be brave, hand in your notice and find a workplace that suits you. Don’t feel you have to change to suit the school.

4: Embrace your inner geek.

Being a big art loving history geek will pay off. The kids will love you for this (especially when you make exploding volcanoes.)

5: You can’t please everyone.

Some parents are just not nice people. They will take out their frustrations about their child on you. Don’t take this personally.

6: Don’t take the bad kids personally.

Similarly, some children are just not nice people. Just because they’re under 10 does not mean they’re all sweetness and light. You can, and will, survive the days when they throw chairs at you and/or threaten other children with a pair of scissors.

7: Learn from feedback.

Just because you have a lesson observation that’s less than perfect it does not mean you can’t teach. Take the feedback in a positive way, keep you head down and improve. You’ll get there.

8: Don’t let the bastards get you down.

Ofsted and the government are arseholes. It’s almost like they don’t want you to succeed. Ignore them as much as you can and focus on providing the best education you can for the littles. (At best teach the littles to be future-changing potential MPs!)

9: Time management does get easier.

Sometimes it will feel like you’re drowning in paperwork, especially in that NQT year. The paper work, unfortunately, stays a bitch, but you’ll get better at managing it.

10: Keep going!

You might not be the best teacher in the world, but you’re doing the best you can. And that’s just fine.

No doubt I’ll be able to look back in another 6 years with many more words of wisdom to offer! Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Writing this has taught me I still need to have that little bit more faith in my own abilities though, either that or I need a future me to come and give me a reassuring pat on the back on occasion!

4 thoughts on “10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Teaching”

  1. Yep, agree with all of these! I was telling our PGCE student just yesterday, “It gets better!” She’s struggling with the paperwork and planning and I well remember how I felt I was drowning in work, but from NQT+1 onwards it gets so much easier.


    1. I’m currently mentoring our NQT and have been reassuring her that the whole planning things speeds up. If only I could reassure her that the paperwork would lessen!


  2. I taught English to French kids of a year and teaching is so much harder than it looks. The lesson planning took ages and to stand up and talk for so long was just exhausting! It’s not for me, that’s for sure!

    Corinne x


    1. It’s really not as easy as people think is it?! I always find I have a sore throat the first few days of each term getting back into the swing of talking so much!


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