TES Forums are brilliant when you are trying to navigate the unwritten rules in teaching, and if you’re not already using or contributing to them, then start now. You can get an answer to any kind of question you have, and support with any kind of issue you are having. Here are some tips on how to use them to best effect, and who exactly can help you.
- Stay anonymous: don’t just create a username that bears no relation to your name or you as a person, but don’t give away any details that will allow you to be recognised. That goes for in private messages as well: you never know who you are talking to.
- Post it in the right forum: some of the forums aren’t used at all and so your post won’t get seen. Helpful TESsers will tell you if they think you’d be better posting it somewhere else, and sometimes it’s worth posting in more than one.
- Ignore the trolls: there are plenty of SMT wannabes who think they know everything and that all teachers except them are useless, and chances are you’ll run into one. Treat them like any other internet troll and don’t feed them.
- Ignore the dogooders: If you’re attempting to uncover what’s really going on, and someone gives you a response that you could have guessed yourself, i.e. “If you are the best person for the job then the interview process will uncover this.” Yeah, right! Ignore them, and listen to those that seem to speak from experience.
- Don’t take advice as gospel: Answers to questions related to the law, health and human resources issues should only be taken as indicators, not as definitive answers.
- Don’t get depressed: TES forums are a negative place, full of accounts of bullying, malicious behaviour and mental health problems. But, you know, welcome to education.
There are certain people who you can ask questions of directly. With the exception of gardening leaves, they won’t reply to private messages, so you will need to post a new thread beginning with “Dear <person>,” to get their attention.
Tom Bennett: “Dear Tom” for issues on behaviour management
Theo Griff: “Dear Theo” for issues on job seeking and careers
Sagacious: “Dear Sage” for student and NQT issues
Gardening Leaves: for legal issues
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