12 tips from a trainer to young teachers


It’s not always easy for young teachers to conceive of their place in the classroom. On the strength of his experience as an SES teacher(economic and social sciences) for 30 years, Philippe Watrelot, trainer at the IUFM and president of the CRAP-Cahiers pedagogiques , delivers valuable advice for getting started without stressing.

Relax, even if the first hour didn’t go well!

Contrary to what is said, not everything is decided during the first lesson. Even if the beginnings don’t go as you would have liked, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Better to take a step back and tell yourself that there are things that can be made up for.”

Let go and be modest!

At the beginning, we plan everything, we want to write everything down, even the students’ answers. However, you have to agree to do a job where you are often destabilized. Accept being uncertain. Let go! Let the unexpected happen. It’s a job where you have to be modest. Too much control impairs spontaneity. Too much spontaneity undermines control.”

Be both a cop and a seducer.

It’s not about being one without the other. It’s fine piloting between the two and we are in this tension throughout a teacher’s life. At the beginning, you will probably tend to be a little too “cop”, for fear of being overwhelmed. But it is easier to let go of some ballast after having tightened a little too much than the opposite. Don’t forget that students also walk emotionally.

Put into perspective, while remaining firm on a certain number of values. Certain attitudes remain unacceptable: mockery vis-à-vis pupils who work and who may, for example, be called “jesters” by other pupils. If you witness this, tell the class that you don’t like this sort of thing and that we are here to improve. And value the insulting student by telling him that you are sure he is capable of much better than that.”

You can absolutely say that what a student has just said or done is unacceptable, that he has not provided satisfactory work. But distinguish the young person, as subject, from his work.”

If you have to manage a conflict situation with a student, try, as much as possible, to take the time to step back and get out of the emergency. Even if it means saying: “Let’s calm down, we’ll talk about it later”. In the game of verbal escalation, the adult never wins. Teenagers are very good at this game. They are touchy and don’t want to lose face.

Which comes down to saying what we are going to do and doing what we say. Hold an announced sanction, for example. These operating principles are also valid in life in general and not only of a teacher in his class.

Recognize it! If we make an error of judgment with a student or a class, it is easier to say that we have reviewed our position in order to be able to start again on a good basis. Students are very attached to what is right. We always grow by acknowledging our mistakes.”

At the beginning of class, tell your students: this is what we are going to learn, and this is how we are going to go about getting there. Set objectives for each session and state them so that the pedagogy is as clear as possible. What we teach must make sense to the students.

“Take some distance from your work.It’s very difficult ! And teachers often work alone with the feeling of an intimate connection to their class and not a professional one. This is also why we don’t learn enough as a team. As we learn collectively. You still have to be able to agree to exchange and recognize your difficulties.

But beware, “on your work” does not mean “on yourself”. Also accept that what works with one class may not necessarily work with another. And stay in search. Try to surround yourself with colleagues who are in this process.

And that students are quick to react to boredom. You can’t teach with a long lecture tunnel. In one hour of lessons, you need several types of activity and devices, small groups, tutorials… Take into account the diversity of learning profiles:

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