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Making the most of your Early Career Teacher (ECT) years

Early Career Teacher

Completing your Initial Teacher Training and finding your first job as an Early Career Teacher (ECT) is a big step, and your these next few years will be some of the most important in your career.

It is a steep learning curve and as a new teacher you will develop rapidly during the first few years of your career. So how do you make the most of the opportunities available to you as an ECT?

Here are some tips for getting the most from your early career

Prepare for your interview

A good quality ECT can be a valuable addition to any school or department. Not only will you be full of enthusiasm for your new post, but you will also be up to date with the latest subject knowledge and learning theories.

Visiting a school before you apply can answer a lot of the questions you may have. If this is not possible, then make sure you prepare a list of questions to ask at interview. While some jobs are specifically aimed at ECTs others may not be suitable. Asking about ECT support, workload and professional development opportunities are all important questions to help you decide if this is the right environment for you to begin your career.

Don’t fear observations

You will get observed regularly during your early career, some of these will form part of your ongoing assessment for induction and others could include drop-ins and peer observations. Engaging in supportive observation and feedback cycles provide excellent professional development opportunities, especially when coaching approaches are taken to set targets.

Be proactive and ask to observe other colleagues in your department, particularly when teaching challenging or new topics. You could also pair up with another ECT to plan collaboratively and then observe each other’s practice.

Join the research-informed movement

To help develop your practice you need to continue to engage with current educational research. A great way to do this is by joining the Chartered College of Teaching. As an ECT you get half price membership (it’s free during your training year) which includes a subscription to the termly, peer-reviewed journal, as well as access to an education and research database.

You could also attend one of the many conferences run by ResearchEd; grassroots, teacher-lead movement that aims to support teachers to become research-literate. The conferences are held on Saturdays at locations across the country (including Kent) and give you access to a host of national speakers as well as practicing teachers sharing what works in their own classrooms.

Further reading

Expand your network

Lastly don’t forget to join the KMT Alumni on LinkedIn – click here – which has been established to help past trainees connect with each other, offer support, advice and help further career development.

You can also follow KMT on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook too.