Maintaining your professional reputation

Jasmin Choudhury

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Starting a new school or a new setting can always be scary and overwhelming – whatever your background or experience. Maintaining your professional reputation is like ‘currency’ – it can go up or down depending on how you behave and react.

If you have been recruited to the school already – SMILE! You are past the necessary hurdles!

The headteacher and senior leaders have already pored over your CV or application, taken time out to interview and observe you as a professional and have had many discussions on where you will ‘best fit in their school.’

They want you to succeed! You just have to ensure you maintain your professional currency and have the best start. Always try to be a reflective and integrity led professional! This is whether you start in September or halfway through the year.


Here’s a few things that will help you to make the start at your new school easier:

1) Be organised, organised, organised!

  • The key to successful teachers are that they are organised.
  • Unfortunately, although you may think you have six weeks of summer holidays – you don’t. One of the weeks (usually late August) should be used to set up your classrooms and be September ready.
  • Have a diary (you are usually given one) and ensure dates are recorded.
  • Make sure lesson plans and resources are ready ahead of time and are of high quality.
  • Don’t stress over the summer holidays as every school has a unique way of delivering the broad and balanced curriculum.
  • Make sure you find out who your parallel teachers are or the key people in your department who will support and plan with you.
  • Exchange emails or mobile numbers so that you can contact them nearer to the start.

2) Watch out – time keeping and maintaining deadlines

  • Ensure you are punctual at all times. As teachers it is key you model this to your pupils as one day they will be joining the world of work – where punctuality is essential.
  • Try to get into school early so that you are calm and clear about your day and this allows you to get organised.
  • The same applies to leaving at a reasonable time. Remember “you work to live – not live to work”. 5.30-6pm should be the latest time you leave.

3) The Enabling Classroom – ensure it is September ready!

  • Whether you are a primary teacher or a secondary school teacher, where you will teach will be the centre of your professional world.
  • Ensure your classroom enables pupils to be independent and lifelong learners who are well prepped for the needs of the 21st Century.
  • Resources and areas should be clearly labelled.
  • Try to have objects or displays that are thought provoking – declutter if necessary and make it yours!
  • Please take time to have your classroom ‘ship shape’ before the children start. Teachers who don’t invest in this time will often struggle and find it difficult to juggle everything once the children are in.
  • If you are a primary teacher, develop your book corner so that it is warm and inviting so reading has an integral role in your classroom.
  • If you are a secondary school teacher, how does your classroom promote the passion for your subject?

Remember – this will be your ‘home’ during working hours and for many children their “first office” or work environment . Your classroom is also a window to what kind of professional you are - so you must ensure that it represents excellence, high expectations and good and better practice at all times.




"There should be a balance of self and peer assessments as well as incisive feedback and response from the children."


4) The Books – The key evidence of your understanding of your pupils learning and your teaching!

  • The children’s books represent you and your relationship with the child and how you are developing them as learners.
  • Ensure they are neatly presented (you have to spend time training pupils).
  • Scruffy and poorly presented books are signs of poor expectations.
  • Most schools have presentation policies and expectations so ensure that you follow them.
  • Make sure your books give regular feedback and comments to the pupils and also ensure they“move the child on” in their learning. There should be a balance of self and peer assessments as well as incisive feedback and response from the children.
  • Get the children to respond to the feedback you have given as this helps accelerate progress.


5) Socialise appropriately and ask for help – there is everything right with it!

  • Take time to have your lunch and breaks in the staffroom. It gives you a break and also allows you to be rested and reflective before your next session.
  • It is also where you will hear exchanges of great ideas and even experienced professionals discussing what they are finding difficult.
  • Keep your discussions professional and discreet. You are a professional and inappropriate behaviour of any form is marked by many.
  • Ensure your social media profile is always appropriate! Now you are a teacher, you are like a mini celebrity to your pupils so your actions are key.
  • If you are finding things difficult, speak to your mentor, a senior leader or a trusted collegue. It is okay to ask for help (we all do it) and ask before you are too overwhelmed and have got yourself in to a state of panic.




6) Safeguard the children and yourself

  • Safeguarding is the central principle in all schools and organizations who deal with children and vulnerable people and runs through them like a strong steel thread.
  • Read your school’s safeguarding policy and whistleblowing policy as you will be required to have knowledge of it.
  • Report anything you have a concern about. Using the school’s safeguarding policy (Remember nothing is impossible) and don’t be scared. You are an integrity led professional.
  • Safeguard yourself and never be in a compromising position with children.
  • Never touch them or make inappropriate comments and always make sure you act in the best interests of the child and their family.
  • If in doubt speak to a trusted colleague, your mentor or a senior leader.


Finally enjoy your time with the children!

Great teachers existed 200 years ago, 2000 years ago and they exist now. Examples of Aristotle, Socrates, Buddha and the relationship between Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller spring to mind.

You are part of one of the greatest professions in the world. Every society needs fabulous teachers!

Don’t ever underestimate the influence you have on shaping great minds of the future- whoever they may be!



About our Community Expert


Jasmin Choudhury
Community Expert

Jasmin has extensive experience of working in a variety of settings which have included being recruited to work schools in special measures and concern as well as outstanding.

Jasmin has been qualified as a teacher for over 20 years and has been a Deputy Head, working mainly in some of the most deprived and challenging schools in the UK.

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