Page 1

d l o h s e r h T acher te t n e d u t s a g in e Your guide to b ights

le What to Expect Whient em on Plac

Classroom Control

Your Employment R

Sign up to be part of Scotland’s largest and most effective Teacher Trade Union The Educational Institute of Scotland. Over 80% of all teachers and lecturers in Scotland are EIS members.

As a member you can: • Access advice & assistance from a local EIS Rep while you’re on placement. • Be active in EIS campaigns including those on pensions and class size. • Learn about CPD opportunities with EIS Learning Reps. • Take part in EIS Student Conference 2013. • Attend free EIS events with education experts.

Student Membership is

Complete the membership form (page 19) or join online:

Welcome and thank you for taking the time to pick up the new edition of Threshold! The EIS is the largest Teacher Trade Union in Scotland, and wherever you choose to work in the education sector we can provide you with the advice and support you need throughout your career.

For more information or to ask any questions please contact Robin:

Robin Munro EIS Student Organiser

Email: Tel: 0131 225 6244 Text: 07807 285279 teachers

Over the last 12 months the EIS has campaigned to protect teachers’ pensions, pay and conditions, and elected Reps have developed policies in areas such as the Curriculum for Excellence. Threshold is designed specifically for EIS student members, and in the following pages you will find great advice on issues including placements and classroom control. There is also information on how you can get involved with both the EIS and your University’s Student Teacher Society. As the EIS Student Organiser, I regularly visit Universities across Scotland to meet Student Teachers and work with societies and student associations to organise events. So far in 2012, the EIS has sponsored events including Student Teacher Society Balls and TeachMeets® at the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde and the University of the West of Scotland, so if you would be interested in taking part in future events please contact me. I would also like to hear if you would be interested in setting up a Student Teacher society at your University, or if you would like to discuss your course or placement. The EIS is FREE to join for Student Teachers, and members can receive advice and, if necessary, representation if issues arise while on placement. You can join the EIS by either completing the form at the back of Threshold, or online at

Contents page 4 Welcome from NUS Scotland page 5 NUS Scotland Campaigns page 6 Student Teacher Societies & Events page 8 What to Expect While on Placement page 10 Classroom Control page 12 EIS School Reps page 13 Advice from Newly Qualified Teachers page 14 Employment Rights page 16 Useful Websites & Apps page 18 Get Involved with EIS Students page 19 EIS Student Membership Form

I wish you the very best of luck on your course!

Welcome from

NUS Scotland Winning for you nationally Hello, my name is Robin Parker, and I’m the President of NUS Scotland. As you begin your studies this autumn, I want to wish you good luck in pursuing a teaching career. I firmly believe that teaching is one of the most rewarding and challenging careers you can have. Time and time again, I have heard students tell stories of teachers who have made a difference to their lives, not just lecturers at universities and colleges, but those teaching at primary and secondary schools and shaping the minds of the generation to come. I also wanted to tell you a little bit about us and how we impact on your time as education students.

If your student association is part of NUS Scotland, you are now part of NUS Scotland too – a national union that exists to change students’ lives for the better.

NUS Scotland is the national campaigning organisation for students in Scotland - we represent over 550,000 students in further and higher education across the country. We also represent almost 60 college and university students’ associations up and down Scotland and it is our members who own and shape what we do. Whether it’s a local campaign a member association is fighting on their campus or a national campaign to make students’ lives better, NUS Scotland is the collective movement that makes change happen.

• A commitment by over 85% of newly elected MSPs to not introduce tuition fees, to maintain places and to improve student support.

NUS Scotland exists to promote, defend and extend your rights as a student, and make sure your students’ association is as strong, active, and effective as it can be.

Priority campaigns Over the past three years, NUS Scotland has co-ordinated the efforts of students across Scotland to get more money in their pockets. Victories include:

• An increase in university funding of over £135 million by 2014/15. • £260 million in additional student loans for students, as part of a commitment to introduce a £7,000 minimum income guarantee, starting with the poorest students, from 2013/14.

Robin Parker NUS Scotland President

• Government agreement to repeat the additional £11.4 million provided in student support for college students following NUS Scotland’s Reclaim Your Voice campaign. • A commitment to create an entitlement to support for the poorest college students. In the coming year, we’ll be focusing our priority campaigning on making access to education fair, so that it is someone’s ability and potential, not their financial means or social background, that determines whether they have the opportunity to enter higher education. Scotland currently has the worst rate of widening access in the UK and we’ll be working with the Government and universities to change that.

Community campaigns

Education campaigns

Equality campaigns

Students aren’t just affected by what happens on campus; they’re also connected to issues in the wider community. That is why NUS Scotland will be working on tackling youth unemployment, transportation and housing. We will be launching the Safe Deposits Scotland tenancy deposit scheme this summer, which will help ensure students don’t get cheated out of their deposit. We will also be continuing the Think Positive mental health project to make student mental health a priority for institutions.

NUS Scotland doesn’t just campaign on student issues outside the classroom, we also work with students to improve the quality of their education. Some of our campaigns have included:

Equality issues span all areas of our work - from education and welfare to sports clubs and societies. The NUS has a long history of campaigning for equality in Scotland, and continues the fight every day on campus and in Parliament to address prejudice and discrimination.

NUS Scotland will be actively seeking to educate students on the forthcoming independence referendum, so a truly informed choice can be made when the day of the vote arrives. We are also working with the Scottish Youth Parliament to give 16 and 17 year-olds the right to vote in the referendum and all future elections.

• The Student Learning and Engagement Enhancement Campaign (SLEEC) - which empowers students to shape and improve their educational experience and affect national policy on learning and teaching • Student-led Teaching Awards Projects - NUS Scotland works with students’ associations across the country, to highlight lecturers and staff that go the extra mile and improve the learning experience for students by using their views to campaign for change.

Working Together

How to get involved

The EIS and NUS Scotland recently worked together to support the Scottish Youth Parliament’s call to give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in the referendum on Scotland’s future. On 20th June 2012 we also held a joint rally at the Scottish Parliament to campaign against cuts in further education and highlight the importance of local colleges to communities.

Your local students’ association has a tremendous amount of influence, so make sure you get involved with the campaigns they are working on. Many students find that taking part in campaigns to be a really positive experience and you can find out more about them by following your students’ union on Facebook, Twitter, or by stopping into your students’ union and speaking to an officer.

• We have four liberation officers (Women, Black, LGBT, and Disabled) who work on ensuring equality is at the core of the education experience • We also have elected officers that work specifically with mature and international students to tackle the different challenges they face.

You will undoubtedly find the upcoming year a busy one, so to keep track of what’s going on in Scotland and details on how you can get involved, become a fan at: and follow us on twitter @nusScotland You are now part of a union – and that means there will always be someone there to stand up for you, and always someone for you to stand up with. NUS Scotland is here to make sure the old cliché that the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts remains true.

Chris McLaughlin President

Student Teacher Societies Every University Students’ Association encourages students to set up a society on an issue or subject that is important to them. Joining a society can improve your university experience by giving you the opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills. The EIS is proud to have supported Student Teacher Societies, and our Student Organiser Robin Munro has helped to run training events and networking opportunities at several universities.


Our activities include: • Education training events in areas such as Social Networking and Classroom Behaviour. • Sponsoring social events. • Regular meetings to enable you to get involved with your union. • Campaigning to protect teachers’ terms and conditions and improve education.

Student If you do not currently have an active would but ty ersi Univ Teacher Society at your at in Rob like to set one up, please email py to, and he’ll be hap d to provide you with the support you nee make it happen.

Glasgow University Student Teachers’ Society We are a new society and our aim is to become the social hub for all student teachers. Over the coming months we will be providing opportunities for students to attend networking events, TeachMeets® as well as sporting and charity events. We will also be inviting guest speakers to our meetings to discuss a range of educational topics. Our Student Teacher Society is a bridge between those studying on all education courses, including primary, secondary and PGDE, and we would be delighted to welcome all new members. If you are at Glasgow and are interested in joining us or you just have a question, please get in touch.

Got an Idea

to EIS Students campaigning s. sion pen rs’ che tea ect prot

for an event you would like to run..........


Keven Rudd President

Crichton Education Society Our society began in February 2012 and we support all education students on Crichton Campus. Our plans for 2012/13 include running education workshops and discussion groups, plenty of social events and arranging visit to other universities to meet student teachers. We will also be having regular meetings where student teachers can network and discuss any issues. So if you’re in Dumfries and you’d like to get involved, please contact me.

Contact .... Contact your Student Teacher Society to find out what events they are running over the coming months, or alternatively if you have an idea for an event you would like to run, please contact Robin at and he will be pleased to help.

Aberdeen Education Society – Crichton Education Society, Dumfries - Glasgow Student Teachers’ Society – Strathclyde CPD In Education Society –

What to Expect While on Placement Before you begin • Research your school and find out as much about it as you can. Look at your school’s website and talk to other students, lecturers and your Student Education Society to build up a picture of what to expect. • Visit the Education Scotland website which contains all inspection reports and general information on education authorities. • Arrange with your mentor or Head Teacher to visit the school prior to commencing your placement. Use the opportunity to find out which classes you will teach and their level as well as the conventions and policies of the school. You should also ask how teachers should be addressed by pupils and when the break and lunch times are. • Get a copy of the school’s staff handbook and behaviour policy. • Make sure you get your login details for the school’s computer network. • Find out how long it takes to travel to the school and what the best route is.

Going on placement can be daunting, but it can also be a lot of fun. Placement gives you the opportunity to put into practice all of the skills you’ve learnt and find your feet in the classroom. Here are a few tips to help along in your placement.

First day • First impressions count so make sure you arrive on time and have your school and mentor contact details with you in case of an emergency. • Dress appropriately. You should look smart but stay practical because you need to feel comfortable when you’re working with children. • Smile and introduce yourself to your new colleagues. This may seem difficult if you are nervous, but remember they have all been through the same thing before and will be happy to help you settle in. • Try to learn your pupils’ names quickly. One good way to help remember them is to create a seating plan.

Always ask questions If you are unsure about how to set up equipment or how you should deal with a particular issue, your colleagues and your mentor will be able to help.

If you become ill You should inform your school as well as your university tutor immediately.

Keep a good work/life balance. Schools are busy places and it is important that you have some relaxation time. If you go to the gym or the cinema normally, then make sure you keep going. Organise your time effectively so that you don’t get caught up in your work. If you are a happy and enthusiastic teacher, your class will also be happy and more productive.

Keep a personal diary

Remember to behave appropriately If you find yourself socialising in a place where pupils at your school or their parents may be.

Throughout your placement

Join the EIS It is FREE for students and for up to 16 months from the start of probation, and if you need advice we are always available. The EIS has a rep in most schools in Scotland so there is always someone local to help, and by becoming a member you will also be covered for any legal protection you need while on placement.

Record the skills and techniques you have used successfully during your placement. A diary is also an excellent way of enabling you to write about your experiences and self-evaluate.

Regularly update your School Experience File And offer it to your tutor to review. If you keep this organised then you will avoid trying to remember old lesson plans and having to write last minute updates.

Classroom Control One of the most common concerns of student teachers is how to go about keeping a class under control. Classroom control is about how you use your voice, your body language and how you engage with your pupils, and it is a skill that will improve through training and experience. Each school has its own policy on encouraging positive behaviours so you should familiarise yourself with this and discuss how it works in practice with the class teacher. It is important that you ask questions if you are ever unsure; however here are some useful tips:

Useful tips • Be organised, methodical and prepared. • Read the school’s behaviour and discipline policy and be aware of what sanctions you can use. • Always be clear and expressive when talking to your class. • Tone is more important than volume. Your voice is an important tool, so avoid shouting and use visual signs as well as silence or pauses. • Use facial expression to convey emotions as it encourages children to be enthusiastic.

• Be calm, consistent and fair at all times as this will help you to avoid confrontation. • Use one-to-one eye contact. This will increase children’s attentiveness and help you to observe their facial expressions. • Do not make assumptions about pupils from outward appearances. • Try to intervene with misbehaviour early as this can prevent it becoming a greater issue.

• Rewards work much better than punishment. Good classroom control is gained through encouragement and praise rather than negativity and criticism. Different rewards suit different children so it can be good to give the child a choice. For example you could present them with a certificate or a sticker, or allow them to talk to their classmates about what they have done to receive an award.

• Should a teacher ever find themself in a situation where they need to restrain a pupil to prevent them harming themselves or others, any force used must always be reasonable and proportionate. An attempt should always be made to summon help if possible, a written note of what happened needs to be kept and an EIS rep must be contacted immediately to provide advice.

Over time you will develop your own style that suits you and the children you teach, which will help to make your classroom a happy and productive place.

EIS School Reps

The EIS represents over 80% of teachers and lecturers in Scotland and has members who work in nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, as well as in colleges and Universities.

EIS School Reps are elected annually and are always available to give you advice and support while you are on placement and throughout your career in education. The main responsibilities of an EIS School Rep are to communicate with members, to keep up to date with education policies and to help people join us and get involved with our campaigns.


Advice & Support

EIS School Reps ensure that members are kept informed about local and national education debates, by distributing leaflets and papers on issues including the McCormac Review and our Pensions Campaign. They also update school notice boards and hold meetings where teachers can talk about their concerns and discuss possible solutions.

Only EIS members can receive advice and support from our team of School Reps, Local Association Secretaries and Area Officers. If you have a question our School Reps are an excellent source of knowledge, and alternatively if you need to raise a grievance or disciplinary proceedings are brought against you, they will be able to quickly put you in contact with the best person to help.

Local Associations

Learning Reps

EIS Student Members

You can find the contact details of your Local Association Secretary, as well as a link to their own website containing information on local agreements and newsletters at:

The EIS has around 50 fully trained Learning Reps whose duties include:

As an student member you have access to your own EIS Student Organiser. If you would like to talk about any issues or you have any ideas for campaigns or events, please contact Robin Munro at: LocalAssociation.htm

• Informing and advising teachers on how to access CPD. • Encouraging the introduction of quality CPD programmes for teachers. • Helping teachers to access useful sources of advice and guidance. For more information on Lifelong Learning, CPD and EIS Learning Reps go to: As a student teacher you can join the EIS for free and you can also qualify for up to 16 months free membership from the start of your probation. For further details go to

Advice from Newly Qualified Teachers We asked former EIS Student Members what they wished they knew when they started their course.

“Have a social life. Keep going to the gym, the cinema etc. Don’t be a total recluse while on placement. There’s more to life than lesson planning!” “Get to know fellow students on your course. Someone else in your tutor group may have already taught a topic or have a great idea for teaching it. Get your mates on the course to proof read your essays, share lesson plans, collaborate on projects, profiles and submissions. They are also a good way to share your woes reminding you that you are not alone.” “Listen to everyone. Everyone you meet this year can teach you something or give you a different insight, so listen carefully to everything.”

Everyone you will meet this year can teach you something

“You’ll learn more from bad lessons than good ones. Not all of your lesson plans will necessarily work. Don’t let it get you down, but really try to understand why. It may be nothing to do with your teaching, but the insights these lessons give you are invaluable.” “Network. You never know when you’ll be in another city in need of a printer, or moved somewhere you haven’t heard of on a placement. Remember that teaching communities aren’t that big, so every good contact you have can be invaluable in the long run.” “Evaluate. If you have a good lesson, that’s great, but how do you make it better? If you have a disaster of a lesson that is also pretty good because now you will understand how you can improve the lesson and make it better. Take the time to ask teachers in your school to help you evaluate your lessons and be sure to act on any advice given.”

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Right from day one the workload is huge. However, the good news is that if you plan your time it is manageable. Buy an academic diary or planner and plan your time so that you go to every lecture, do all the reading and complete your homework. That said, be sure to plan in time for yourself, its just as important as the coursework. My other tip would be to get yourself a lot of large ring binders now. Trust me, you will need them to keep your coursework organised and be able to find information quickly while on placement.”

if you plan your time it is manageable

(Caleb Marwick)

We would like to thank the former students Angela Fraser, Caleb Marwick and Amanda McCartney for giving this advice and we hope you all find it useful.

Your Employment Rights Many students work part-time to support themselves through University. As Scotland’s third largest trade union, the EIS works with other unions across Scotland through the STUC to improve terms and conditions for workers and ensure workplaces are better and safer. Here is a brief guide to employment law so that you can be aware of your rights at work.

Pay Both full and part-time workers in the UK are entitled to earn the national minimum wage, and this must not include any tips, gratuities or service charges. The law on minimum wage covers all workers except those who are self-employed, volunteering or are on a government training scheme. As of 1st October 2011 the national minimum wage amounts are: • £6.08 (For workers aged 21 and over) • £4.98 (For workers aged between 18 and 20) • £3.68 (For workers aged between 16 and 17) • £2.60 (For apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship)

Holidays & Annual Leave There is a minimum right to paid holidays. Some employers will offer more than the legal minimum of 28 days per year if you work 5 days a week. Part-time staff are entitled to the same holidays as full-time staff on a pro rata basis. The facts to remember are: • You start to accrue leave as soon as your employment commences. • Your employer can specify when you can take your leave. • While on leave you will receive your normal rate of pay. • Public and bank holidays can be included in your minimum holiday entitlement. • On leaving an employer, you must be paid for any leave you have not taken.

Working Hours Adult workers cannot be forced to work more than an average of 48 hours a week over a 17 week period. If you are 18 years of age or over and wish to work more than 48 hours a week, you can opt out of the 48 hour limit. This must be voluntary and be put in writing and this must not form part of an agreement with the whole workforce. You cannot be sacked or unfairly treated for refusing to sign an opt-out agreement, and if you do sign one you can opt out of it as long as you give a minimum of 7 days notice. This could be longer (up to 3 months) if you have previously agreed this in writing with your employer. Your employer cannot force you to cancel your opt-out agreement. Your working week is covered by the Working Time Directive unless you have a job where: • You can freely choose how long you will work (For example, a managing director). • You work in the armed forces or the emergency services. • You are a domestic servant in a private house.

The Futu


re is Now

/the-fut Find out ure-is-no more ab w out the campaig STUC ’s n aimed at helpin young p g to prov eople th ide e suppo need to rt they move in to work.

Breaks Most employers have their own policy on breaks, so it is best to ask your manager or colleagues what these are before you start work. The legal minimum requirement is for a 20 minute rest break if you are expected to work for more than 6 hours. This time can comprise of a lunch or coffee break and your employer can specify when you take it. Your break must be somewhere in the middle of your shift and must never be at the end. Always remember to take your break so you don’t burn yourself out.

Summary The University experience for some students is clouded by employers who take advantage of their lack of workplace knowledge. Some employers try to impose working practices on students that more experienced staff would not accept, and to address this important issue the EIS works with NUS Scotland and the STUC to campaign for better terms and conditions for young workers. NUS Scotland and the elected members of the STUC Youth Committee are currently lobbying against zero hour contracts, long and inflexible working hours and poor pay, and for a fair deal for students in the workplace. As a qualified teacher you will receive better terms and conditions than the legal minimum requirements. Log on to and where you can find lots more useful information. If you are encountering any issues at work you should speak to your manager in the first instance. Please contact for further advice if your issue is not resolved.

urself out don’t burn yo

Useful Websites

For information or advice on education issues in Scotland check out the EIS website. The website is always kept up to date with news, information and advice for teachers. If you need school specific information or you’re stuck for lesson ideas you could try a few of the following websites:

NUS Scotland represents over 500,000 students across Scottish colleges and universities. The website contains useful information on finance, housing and health among other issues, and you can also keep up-to-date with NUS campaigns.

The Education Scotland website provides teachers with subject specific resources as well as an abundance of information on the Curriculum for Excellence. There is also information here on HMI inspection reports, education authorities and individual schools, as well as ideas on how you can use assessment successfully in the classroom. The General Teaching Council for Scotland is the independent professional body that promotes and regulates the teaching profession in Scotland. This website contains all the local government jobs in education throughout Scotland. A useful website for teaching resources and providing advice on lessons plans and working with children. If you are on the hunt for a job, this is also an ideal place to look. The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers or SNCT for short is the body set up to negotiate your terms and conditions, including your salary. You will find details of your salary scale as well as terms and conditions on their website. It is worth noting that as the largest teaching union, the EIS has 8 SNCT seats out of the available 11 given to the education trade unions. The other members of the committee are made up of officials from the Scottish Government and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Recommended by students and teachers

Apps A website packed with hundreds of artful ideas.

Bubblesheet Assess student performance, share common assessments and connect with the learning community. Lesson plans for both primary and secondary classes, as well as information on their one day CPD course. Plenty of excellent ideas on teaching children subjects including literacy and numeracy, with the emphasis being on making learning interesting and fun.

Evernote Stay organised, take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders, save your ideas and access everything across all of your devices. Useful tips on teaching primary studets, free lesson plans and lots of ideas for classroom activities.

HowStuffWorks Instant access to over 30,000 articles in just about as many topics as well as videos from the Discovery Channel. Lots of activities for your classroom, some recommended reading and a few really useful website links.

TeacherPal An essential personal organiser for teachers. An abundance of Educational resources including display materials, quizzes, games, as well as Curriculum for Excellence information. Online class resources as well as information on their visitor centre education programmes. Find out how to make your school more environmentally friendly, plus lesson plans on subjects including Transport, Water and Energy Efficiency Lesson plans in Literacy, Maths, Science, Geography, History, Art and anything else you can imagine.

TED The official Technology Education Design app. Download this to access talks and presentations from some of the world’s most fascinating people. Wunderlist Organise your tasks, sync them between devices and then share them with your friends and colleagues.

Get Involved


Thank you for taking a few minutes to read the latest edition of Threshold. As a student member of the EIS you have an opportunity to take part in education and social events as well as be active within the trade union. Some of the ways you can get involved are:

The EIS is happy to help you or your student teachers’ society organise both educational and social events for the benefit of all student teachers. EIS student members have attended training events in areas including CPD, Classroom Behaviour and Sensory Impairment as well as society social events and Education Faculty Balls. We have also arranged visits from qualified teachers and head teachers to universities to talk to student teachers about education issues in their local areas, and we provide advice on issues like social networking and terms and conditions.

Surveys Take part in our EIS Student Surveys and let us know what you think about Scottish Education and about your experiences as a student teacher. Become An EIS Student Contact If you would like to organise EIS events or pass on EIS communications at your University, why not become an EIS Student contact? This could be a great chance for you to meet fellow EIS members on your campus as well as from local schools and build up your network. Volunteer at Festivals The EIS, in partnership with the Workers Beer Company, send student volunteers to work at music festivals each year to raise money for our benevolent fund. Over the last two years EIS student members have worked at festivals including Glastonbury, Leeds and Latitude. If you are interested in taking part in 2013 or you would like to be an EIS Student Rep please email

If you are interested in taking part in EIS activities, please contact me: Robin Munro – EIS Student Organiser Email –

As an EIS member you can take part in our events and campaigns, and we want to hear your views on issues such as placements and the Curriculum for Excellence. To join in the discussions and debates as well as find out about events at your University follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and regularly check out the EIS Student website.

PLEASE PRINT ALL DETAILS CLEARLY Name: Contact address during term

Home address if different

Post code

Post code


Date of Birth:



E-mail address Tel/mobile: Type of Course: please tick


Year 1

Year 4

Year 2



Year 3



Year of course completion


I would be willing to act as an EIS contact at my university

Mail to



EIS Headquarters, 46 Moray Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BH Alternatively join online:

Twitter @ EISstudents

Join EIS Students on Twitter for the lowdown on student teacher events at Scottish Universities and to take part in debates and campaigns. This is the place where you will find information about student events and campaigns. If you LIKE our page you also have a chance to win a ÂŁ20 Amazon voucher.

Twitter @ EISstuden ts st

Printed and pu blished by The Educational Institute of Scotl and


NUS Scotland

Advice from Newly Qualified Teachers

46 Moray Place , Edinburgh EH3 6BH,

Useful Websites


EIS Threshold 2012  

Threshold is designed specifically for EIS student members, and in the following pages you will find great advice on issues including placem...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you