5 Tips for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs)
So you’ve finished university, you’ve got your degree and you’ve got your first teaching job, but as the summer holiday draws to an end your thoughts have probably turned to your new career.
Over the summer holiday you have probably already spent hours printing and laminating titles for your displays, organising folders and arranging your classroom. These jobs are certainly useful and a great way to feel slightly more prepared, but until you meet your class you will be holding your breath. To be honest you will probably realise around October half term that you forgot to breathe out.
So other than remembering to breathe what can an NQT do to prepare for their first year?
The team at PlanBee have put their heads together and come up with the top five things they wish they had been told before opening their classroom doors that first September.
1. Work life balance
Start your career as you mean to go on. Get into a routine of good habits from September, start with setting yourself a bedtime and sticking to it. Be strict about when you shut down your computer. You could plan and prepare all night, but it won’t improve your teaching. Make sure you set aside at least one work free evening during the week and a day at the weekend. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time for yourself, teaching is a vocation so make sure you look after your own health!
A friend of PlanBee worked until 2 am every night during the first term of her NQT year, unsurprisingly she burnt out by Christmas.
2. Ask for help
No one will think you are a terrible teacher if you ask someone to explain something to you again. It is much better to ask for clarification before you spend hours working on something. Asking for help early stops you feeling like you have waisted time when you inevitably need to redo it.
In every school we have worked we have found teachers hiding in the cupboard sobbing. Most of the time they were upset because they were exhausted and overwhelmed. Ask for help before this happens. Teaching is a team effort!
3. Know when to say no
Obviously there is the wrong time to say no, but in most circumstances if you respond professionally no one will think any less of you. Everyone in a school is busy and at times your colleagues will share out jobs and add to your work load. If you have too much to do, just explain, no one will think less of you.
4. Everyone makes mistakes
If a child in your class found something difficult, or made a mistake you wouldn’t write them off as a failure. Yet teachers can be unbelievably hard on themselves. Everyone makes mistakes. A motto we have used in schools is ‘mistakes are where the learning happens’. This is true for everyone, embrace your mistakes no one expects you to get everything right all the time!
5. Create an effective learning environment
This does not mean laminating everything! The most important thing in a classroom is you. You create the atmosphere. If your classroom is an area where the children and adults feel valued, secure and respected then half the work is done. If your class understand the boundaries, why they are there and that everyone is treated fairly they will enjoy learning and thrive. When children enjoy being in your class you can get on with enjoying teaching them!
Extra Tip: Consider Getting into Private Tuition
In the UK, particularly London, there is a huge demand additional education support for students studying from Common Entrance right through to A-Levels. At Tutor House, we will consider applications for new private tutors to join our team as long as you have a CRB certificate, a university degree and/or a teaching qualification, and have at least 3 years teaching experience. For more information on how you can become a private tutor, please contact us via our tutors contact form.
We’d like to thank PlanBee for researching and writing this fantastic article. PlanBee provide primary teaching resources for teachers looking for primary lesson plans, information about new curriculums and much more.