Another chapter in my teaching

Tomorrow I will be starting another chapter in my teaching journey. I will be starting a new role as Head Teacher Secondary Studies at Concord High School. It is the first school I will be moving to where I’m not an early career teacher but as an experienced teacher and leader. However, all job changes come with challenges regardless of experience. I will have new relationships to establish with students, colleagues, parents and the community. There are new administration processes to get use to like roll marking, printing, new timetable times to remember, etc. These are some of the more specific teaching challenges for me at my new school.

Moving to a bigger school

My previous school was at just the size where all the science teachers had their own classrooms. Many of my learning routines and teaching strategies has been developed with the assumption of having my own learning space. My new school has a much larger student population so learning spaces are shared and I will be in multiple spaces each day. Things like scaffolds and project timelines on the wall will need to be adapted. I’ve already created new sets of formative assessment cards that are smaller and easier to carry around the school. At my previous schools, I used traffic light cups and A4 sized multiple choice cards that stayed in the classroom.

Teaching a new subject

At my new school I will be teaching Year 11 and 12 chemistry. I’m approved to teach chemistry but did not teach it at my previous schools where I mainly taught physics and senior science. I’m really looking forward to this as I love learning new content.

I am really looking forward to this change but also a bit nervous. What are your tips on starting at a new school?

4 thoughts on “Another chapter in my teaching

  1. Hi Alice,
    I would recommend chunking it so you don’t feel overwhelmed as there are so many areas to get your head around.
    Start by being as organised as you can be with what you know! 🤪 ( as if that’s news!)
    Get to know your students & what they think about learning and life at school. They should have some interesting insights!
    Take time to visit the library and the TL & know how things work as far as accessing resources for you and your students.
    Observe Listen Ask questions✅
    Enjoy the challenge 👍🏻

  2. I had a similar experience with subjects when I started at my new school. I am approved to teach Drama but hadn’t at my previous school, so the last real contact I had with the syllabus was on prac. I would recommend reaching out to professional networks to get up to speed on the latest in Chemistry, although I would think you’ve probably already done so!
    As for your HT role, I’m not too sure if you’ll be supervising staff or not, but I spent the first term just acquainting myself with the role and the people I was overseeing, and teaching of course. I didn’t do a lot more than that, as I wanted to build rapport and learn the ropes before making changes. I guess I would do what I have seen suggested on the ETA Facebook page, which is to get staff to share what they see your role as being and/or what they need, and going from there. Obviously, if you don’t have staff, it’s a different story.
    Getting abreast of the different admin procedures at my new school took longer than I thought it would and was a source of much frustration for me. Here’s hoping you have lovely, streamlined processes already happening!
    Good luck!

  3. Is love to hear new tips as I’m about to endeavor on starting my new job at Homebush Boys High after 12 years at the one school!! My biggest fear is being lost! And that I don’t even know my timetable yet.

  4. Congrats Alice 😊 It sounds like you are organised and started planning the next few steps!
    One thing I noticed with teachers stepping into managerial positions is that a lot of their time gets consumed with admin work. It would be great if you try not to get sucked in and make the most of your new “powers” to support the students’ learning and wellbeing. Looking forward to hearing more 😊

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