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Staffroom confidential


Teacher’s tips

Last issue Pete asked for tips on what to avoid when making friends with new colleagues


Be generous

1. Take your own mug in on your first day. Nothing worse than accidentally picking up the staffroom stalwart’s personal mug which everyone else knows never to touch.

2. Take posh biscuits in for your new department and a big tin of chocolates for the staffroom with a note on to say who it’s from so people get to know who you are.

Heather, by email


Be natural

Don’t try to make friends for the sake of it. Through dedication and commitment to your work, and being involved with all aspects of the curriculum, you will automatically find like- minded colleagues with whom you will have mutual interests. Natural friendships should develop.

Elaine, Bedfordshire


Be diplomatic

The best thing to avoid would be steaming in and advising them on new resources and schemes of work, especially good practice from your last school. Working with what they have and offering advice as you become more familiar with your colleagues will ensure you don’t get their backs up.

Obviously, if asked offer advice, but be diplomatic. There is always plenty of time to sort out issues and inadequacies once you have established yourself.

Dan, by email


Be considerate

Always leave the room tidy for the next teacher.

Chris, via Twitter

Next issue

Have you got any tips for helping pupils deal with their exam nerves?

Tess, by email


A funny thing happened... in an exam

I was about 25, in my third year of teaching, and settling the group into their GCSE maths exam. Everyone was quiet, but an invigilator was becoming more and more irate, shouting at a student to sit down. I couldn’t see anyone standing up. The students began to laugh as the invigilator walked towards me and pushed me into an exam seat. It was the last time I wore a white shirt to work! Mariella, London

I was conducting a mock SATs test with my Y2 class, reading the question and allowing the children time to answer. One question asked them to ‘ring the correct answer’. I couldn’t understand why a particularly bright child was taking so long to answer, so I took a look. She was ‘ringing’ her answer – with diamond rings, complete with lines to show the ‘sparkles’. Claire, Dudley, West Midlands

I was asked to help supervise a GCSE geography exam. Time was passing slowly, and I’d ‘circulated’ the hot, stuffy gym innumerable times. To take the weight off my feet I perched on the edge of a rickety old desk.

Imagine my horror as it gave way beneath me and I plummeted to the floor with a deafening bang! 100 pairs of eyes turned towards the source of the disruption. At the end of the exam the Y11s filed past with much-amused faces and ‘Nice one, Miss!’ comments. Deborah, Lancashire

In the not-so-distant bad old days of SATs in secondary schools, our entire Y9 were about to start the papers in the hall of our now demolished old school when an eagle-eyed member of staff spotted an enormous rat scampering down the side of the hall. It was somehow headed off towards the back of the room without any of them noticing. It disappeared among their bags piled up at the back, never to reappear. It could have ended so differently. Just imagine the pandemonium of 180 students panicking, not to mention the tabloid punning on SATs and rats! Elaine, South Gloucestershire

Next issue: A funny thing happened… in the playground. Send in your anecdotes by 16 April.


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