27 Aug '13

News New teachers – how to survive the first term

Plus research dominates ahead of the REF, and there is help for students making the transition from GCSE to A-level – all on our online communities this week

Guardian Teacher Network

As the summer holidays draw to a close, teachers are already thinking about the first days of term; planning lessons, sprucing up classrooms and heading into school for professional development days.

For newly qualified teachers, who will soon be stepping into their own classroom for the first time, it can be a particularly nerve-wracking time. There are so many unknowns and unanswered questions: what will my students be like? How will the first lessons go? Where is the coffee machine?

To help address some of those questions and dispel some nerves we're running a live chat to help new teachers survive and thrive in the first term. Join our panel on Wednesday from 1pm to 3pm to seek and share advice. Whether you are a young teacher just starting out or an experienced teacher with good advice to give, do stop by.

Over the coming weeks, we'll have plenty more advice and insider gossip for new teachers.

Also on the network this week

• Using CCTV as a lesson observation tool: Goffs school in Hertfordshire has been using 360 video technology in the classroom to help staff reflect on teaching and learning. Andrew Jones, the school's head of religious studies and sociology, discusses his transition from sceptic to fan of video observation.

• We're also running an open thread on planning, preparation and assessment time. How do you use yours?

Kerry Eustice, editor, Guardian Teacher Network

Guardian Higher Education Network

As the new academic year begins, the UK HE sector will be looking ahead to all that 2013-14 has in store. Research will no doubt dominate the horizon, with the long-awaited REF 2014 – Research Excellence Framework (the process by which all university research output is assessed for quality) almost upon us.

But research is only part of the story. Prof Tony Kelly, head of the education school at the University of Southampton, sagely reminds us that if universities are going to be ready for life after REF, they must look beyond their research superstars to the teaching talent in their midst.

"Vice-chancellors will want to accommodate both the gifted teacher who is not a research star, and the gifted researcher who cannot relate to students," advises Kelly. And this week, we will be hearing from both parties on the network, not least the new university "teachers" starting this September – from PhD candidates to post-docs – who were only recently students themselves.

Nancy Groves, editor, Guardian Higher Education Network

Guardian Students


Guardian Students is congratulating all those who got their GCSE results last week. We have an article online about the transition from GCSEs to more demanding A-levels – do take a look if you're taking that step. It's full of helpful advice about how to prepare yourself for a different approach to studying.

We'll also be covering a range of useful topics this week: Harry Slater, our tech expert, will be helping you fix your printer. And he'll be back on Friday to host a Q&A with a range of experts on how students can get Tech on the Cheap.

Are you thinking of going to art school? If so, you're probably slaving over your portfolio, with everyone giving you confusing advice about what you should include and what you should consign to the bin. We'll be providing a guide on how to make sure your portfolio stands out from the rest.

Over in Essex, students are in a froth about their coffee supplier. It seems the idea of a Starbucks on campus has split the university in two. As the arguments reach boiling point, Conrad Landin finds out what they're all getting so heated about.

Judy Friedberg, Guardian universities editor

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