Everyone tells you you’ll never sleep again when you become a parent and we never believe them. They used to use sleep deprivation as a method of torture in the war and this is something you’ll understand when you have a baby, especially if you are unlucky enough to have a child who develops colic.
Sleep is one of the biggest sacrifices of parenthood. From the moment you become pregnant, your sleep becomes interrupted. Your trimester stages generally dictate how little sleep you get, and it becomes less as the pregnancy progresses. Once your new born baby has arrived you are then in a situation – if you are extremely unlucky – of being woken every 2-4 hours a night for an absolute minimum of six months. You could be very lucky and have a baby who sleeps right through the night save for a feed or two but for the normal baby, that doesn’t happen. Only in fairy tales does that happen!
Getting your baby to go to sleep is a big deal and a lot of mothers and fathers tend to try and rush their babies. The need for sleep makes us all desperate but babies are too young to be ‘made’ to sleep until they are at least six months of age. Before this age they don’t understand separation and so bearing with your newly rubbish sleep schedule is literally all you can do. However, once six months hit have at it and start ‘training’ that little sleep vampire. Sleep training is all about getting your little one to sleep and there are companies out there like hatacademy.co.uk that offer actual sleep training courses. What I will say though, is that you can read every book and take every course out there, but that doesn’t mean there is a magic cure. Our babies are born without instruction manuals and rule books and what works for one baby will not work at all for another baby.
There is a reason there is a magic time of six months of age. This is that a baby is actually supposed to wake up. Their stomachs are tiny for a start so regular feeding is the only way they will grow; they don’t stay full for as long as an adult does. When babies are born they have emerged from a warm, dark safe place in a small space to a world that is loud, bright, cold and absolutely huge. That is scary! It’s like being stuck inside with a broken leg for weeks and being allowed outside; you’re disoriented and may feel overwhelmed and seeing as babies can only communicate by crying, that is exactly what they do. All they want is to be held those first few months and the development that they go through during those months is huge.
There are three very common sleep training methods: cry it out, controlled crying and pick up and put down. Crying it out is the least recommended and it’s the practice of putting a warm, full, dry baby down on its back in its room while sleepy to go to sleep. Once in the cot, if they cry, they cry and you don’t go in to see to them. The downside to this is that they learn that no one will come when they cry, so they learn to stop crying. Controlled crying starts in a similar way, but you go into the room every minute for the first night and gently sooth the baby without picking it up and gradually increase the timings until they understand sleeping without you is ok. The last is a combination of the two but each time you see the baby you pick up, calm it down and put
Taking time to plan lessons, mark work, set up revision classes and keep students engaged the entire time is a feat! When it comes to keeping students interested and getting the most out of them, you can take extra training, speak to your head of department and get to know some tips from your colleagues as well as speaking to your agency. We’ve put together some tips for keeping your students engaged and interested during your lessons:
- You don’t have to be a drama teacher to act well. Pretend like you’re having fun and are enthused by the topic of the lesson and the children will be to. Fake it until you make it and while you can’t be the perfect teacher every day, you sure can act excited and happy even if you want to just go back to bed.
- Open your own mind. You want to engage them and that means thinking like them. You may be mid-twenties or even mid-forties and if you aren’t interested in the lessons or topics you’ve planned what makes you think that your pupils will be? Be open minded and ask them how they learn best!
- Take an interest! If your pupils are telling you how they learn and you are paying attention to that, they’ll sit up straighter and be happier during classes. Having a teacher that actually takes an interest in the way they learn can add some respect to your way of working.
- Be aware of the pupils in your class. http://www.rikama-education.com has some excellent tips for you but by stacking all the pupils names in your class on the desk, you can have to hand a way to call on them. They’ll learn to expect your calling on them and hopefully this will keep them awake enough to listen, anticipating their name being called.
- Drama, drama. Have a flair for the dramatics? Plan your lessons with more than just you stood there talking at the class. Act out the questions, bring ribbons into the maths class to tie students together (pretend of course!) and use them to act out equations. Act out stories, historic events and get them chatting. While it’s important to pay attention some children are kinetic learners and learn by more than just staring at the board.
- Exercise and learning go together so plan a lesson outdoors on the grass during a sunny day, or get them out of their seats and set up scavenger hunts with clues that they must find around the classroom. Anything to get that blood flowing and away from the norm of staring at the board.
- Make your lessons stand out by going out of the ordinary! Arrange trips, have classes outside or turn your classroom into a staging area for Shakespeare. Your lesson will be memorable and they’ll chat excitedly about what went on in the class that morning. This will earn you massive brownie points in the favourite teacher lotto!
If your agency that you’ve been employed by is someone like http://www.rikama-education.com you can organise some extra support through them too!
Congratulations on your shiny new degree. While you’re up in their on a euphoria high, your next step should be to organise your ‘NQT’ year, which stands for Newly Qualified Teacher. This is the first step in your teaching career and while it is scary to have a new venture, it is an exciting one. You will learn you don’t have to plan every single minute of every single lesson and you will become far more efficient with your planning. Having everything planned in segments may give a brilliant sense of security but takes up far too much time. All those years of studying are about to be put into practice and the first term you face has the highest number of ‘unknowns’ ahead of you. There’s a lot you have learned and if you have used an agency like http://www.rikama-education.com to find yourself your place for your NQT year then you will have been briefed on what to expect. However, there is a lot that you will learn in that first year and everything you do learn you’ll be putting into practice as you go.
The law of Sod says that plans are there to be broken and anything that can go wrong will go wrong, so while regimented planning is a good idea in theory, brief outlined planning can be better to work with as you can be more fluid in your lessons by being more responsive to what the children actually do need instead of what you’re going to teach. Confidence is key and in that first year you will have to generate class reports and do parent’s evening by yourself without a mentor to guide you along the way. This is where confidence is the best thing to reflect: confidence in yourself as much as your charges! You may be nervous having to do these by yourself and not with a class mentor, you may be nervous about saying the wrong thing or having to talk to a parent about how their child is actually doing in class but don’t be. You see these children for a lot more in the day than the parents and while you don’t know them personally as well, their education is important to you and to them so be honest and fair. Be prepared and take notes before you do each meeting and that way you can plan to be successful.
By working through an agency like http://www.rikama-education.com you can have step by step guidance on your first term and they will tell you that the children you’re going to work with will test your patience! There will be bad days and stressful days and when you have these exhaustive days talk to your agency! By interacting with companies such as http://www.rikama-education.com you can have that support away from your employers. The NQT year isn’t easy by a long stretch but with the right support you can get through it.