Your Career• 3 Min read

16th August 2021

Teaching A Class For The First Time: Top Tips For Staying Calm

Teaching a class for the first time can be a daunting prospect – however many practical classroom hours you’ve clocked up. With a newly qualified batch of teachers starting in schools this September, teaching classes independently, we’ve put together a collection of ways to stay calm, collected and make a great impression on your new students and colleagues. 

  Be Prepared

Preparation is the key to most areas of teaching. It pays to get organised as early as possible so you’ve got plenty of time to relax before term starts. Put in the time to research your new school, role and students, if you have information about the class you’ll be taking.  Gathering supplies and planning your first lessons will give you something to focus on in the weeks before the start of term and mean you can concentrate on building relationships and getting to know your pupils in the first few weeks.


Our Printable Classroom Essentials Checklist For New Teachers

Beginners Guide To Lesson Planning

   Learn Calming Strategies

Having a few ways to manage stress or anxiety in the moment can give you the confidence to overcome larger worries and face difficult situations with a cool head. There’s a great short course on self-soothing techniques for adults and children over at Creative Education. Mindfulness practices are becoming more popular in classrooms around the world. It’s about being present, instead of worrying about the future or ruminating over the past. Deep breathing and focusing your attention on what you can hear, see or feel in that moment are two easy mindfulness practices that can help anyone, with an immediate calming effect. For more, try Headspace – they have a section dedicated to educators.


How To Have A Mentally Healthy Classroom

   Connect With Others

Having a great support network can really help new teachers whenever worries or issues come up, large or small. You’ll probably already have met other NQT’s at training events, interviews or during your training. You don’t have to befriend everyone you meet, but building a network of like-minded teachers and people who work and care about education will give you a great sounding board for the daily tribulations of teaching.  Set up a Linkedin profile (Don’t forget to follow Engage!) and connect with colleagues old and new. Seek out events such as our excellent Team Teach events, to meet other teachers at a similar career stage, or join the #edutwitter community for a huge online network of teachers from around the world.

   Seek Support If You Need It

It’s completely normal to feel a bit nervous about starting any new job – especially with a class full of young people to get to know and then engage and inspire with your teaching style. But if those worries start to take over your thoughts, seeking help from a friend, a colleague, mentor or outside organisation could nip things in the bud and give you the reassurance that you are more than capable of being a fantastic teacher. Sometimes, you might find you aren’t able to overcome anxiety with a simple technique or good preparation – you certainly wouldn’t be alone! If you are worrying excessively, or need support in any areas of your wellbeing as you begin your new career, you can access 24/7 help and support from  Education Support – a charity centred on teacher mental health. 

Above all – know that as you’ve got this far, you are more than qualified to approach your first day with confidence and excitement.  We’d like to wish all NQT’s starting their independent teaching journey this September the very best of luck!

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