18th August 2020
We know lots of newly-qualified teachers are getting ready to start new roles. We’ve put together all of the best tips for NQT’s from teachers, retired teachers and educational professionals across the web – we hope they will be a useful resource for anyone heading into new classes in the Autumn term!
being a great teacher
1. Build A Strong Mentor Relationship – a more experienced teacher can offer help and advice when it comes to pupils or scenarios so draw on that knowledge as often as you need!
2. Make Connections – talk to other teachers, connect online with other NQT’s and get involved in activities and projects outside of your class
3. Maintain The Right Attitude – once the first-day nerves have worn off, it’s vital to keep coming into the classroom with the same amount of energy as your first day – motivating and engaging pupils is much easier when they can see their teacher is equally as invested in their learning
4. Ask For Help – your NQT mentors, HOD and fellow teachers have all been through the same thing, they will be able to/want to offer you support and guidance
5. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself – Every teacher has stood where you stand now, excited, nervous and wanting to make a difference. If things don’t always go to plan that’s okay!
6. Look For Pre-made Resources – You can save yourself time in creating worksheets – there are lots of fantastic free resources for teachers to customise and make their own out there! #edutwitter is a great source of help for teaching resources.
7. Pick Your Battles – You will come up against differing opinions and individuals who think their way is the only way. Only fight the battles you know you can win, not every situation will go your way and these can be fantastic learning opportunities.
8. Know Your Strengths – Where do you excel?
9. Know Your Weaknesses – What do you need to work on?
10. Research Your Class – You may have students with additional needs it’s crucial to look at your classes data to see who might need extra help and who should be challenged.
11. Plan! – Use some of your Summer break to create basic lesson plan templates, brainstorm ideas and plan, plan, plan – it’s much harder to juggle everything during the term time!
12. Form A Support Bubble – If there are other NQT’s in your school, introduce yourself and support each other – it’s great to talk things through with people in the same boat.
13. Know Your Goals – Always go into your classroom knowing what your aims are for the end of the lesson – children, in particular, are very sensitive to a lack of planning!
14. Observation – Look for opportunities to observe lots of different teachers and lessons to gain experience across teaching styles and age groups,
15. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect – no one is!
FIRST DAY BACK
16. Plan for Great Behaviour – Know the school’s behaviour policy and how you will implement it if you have to – this is worth looking at ahead of time!
17. Plan your route…
18. …and outfit the day before, as with any new job – this will take the pressure off on that first morning!
19. Make the rules clear – ensure pupils know straight away what behaviour will and will not be tolerated. You might ask them to create a poster or help with a display featuring school policy or classroom rules.
20. Plan self-evaluation – Pencil in evaluation in a few weeks time – it will give you something to work towards getting everyone settled in.
21.. Manage your own expectations – Don’t expect too much! If you come out of the day with your sanity and your glue sticks, you’ve done fine!
22. UNWIND! Knowing how to unwind and look after your own wellbeing is an essential skill for teachers!
23. Keep things tidy – If you have your own classroom, keep it organised and tidy. Make sure you are always ending the day with a clean classroom ready to go for the next day.
24. Storage and more storage – Unless your school is especially well equipped, you’ve probably inherited some older pieces and may need to add more – see what the schools budget for classroom supplies is, otherwise IKEA is a great source of cheap storage and resources.
25. Create a lively learning space – Read our Beginner’s Guide To Classroom Decorating for our top tips on creating a fun, engaging learning environment for your pupils without blowing the budget
26. Have A Contingency Plan – Have a selection of basic lesson plans ready to fall back on if you run out of time during busy weeks.
27. Pro-tip! Keep a drawer of spare lids for pens and gluesticks – save all the used ones so you never run out – we got this tip from Twitter and think it’s a great idea!
28. Build rapport – Look for ways to connect with your class before school starts – some schools may provide you with a class list to send a welcome note to, or you could create a welcome display in your classroom window for the first day.
29. Give everyone a chance to get used to new surroundings and routines – Give pupils time to settle in before making any judgements on their ability or personality – everyone is in a new situation in the first few weeks of September and it’s important to give pupils the chance to settle in and shine.
30. Keep your word – Only make promises that you are able to follow through on – don’t promise rewards (or punishments!) that you aren’t going to be able to deliver on, it erodes your integrity and will make it harder to manage unruly pupils.
31. Be consistent – Consistency is key to excellent pupil relationships – make sure they know what to expect from you and what you can expect from them
32. Maintain your sense of self – it’s easy to make your whole life about your class and meeting your career goals, especially if you are ambitious, but make sure to make time for yourself to pursue other activities
33. Look after yourself in and out of the classroom – it sounds simple and repetitive, but drinking enough water, getting enough sleep and eating regular meals makes a huge difference to your energy throughout the day.
34. Add a few personal touches to your classroom – for example, many of our teachers like to fill their classrooms with plants, which are proven to have a positive effect on learning environments (there’s a great article on this here!)
35. Tap into the resources available to you both in school and with your recruitment agency – read about the ongoing benefits of working with Engage and how we can signpost you to personal support and development opportunities here
36. Deal with worries – Address issues or worries with your mentor as soon as they come up – it’s likely they will have had something similar and can advise you quickly and put the problem to rest
We really hope you’ve found some useful tips here – we’ve love to hear your personal suggestions and tips for NQT’s about to take on their first year of teaching – head over to twitter to share!
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