Here at the NQT Partnership, we want to help you as much as we can in your first year as an NQT. Our support doesn’t stop when we find you a job but it continues throughout your first year.
Whilst it may be nerve-racking to start your first teaching job, we’ve prepared some handy tips to not only help you survive but thrive in your NQT year.
Tips for thriving in your NQT year
1. Don’t be afraid to ask
If you need advice, guidance or support ask for it. Your mentor and the senior leadership team want you to thrive and succeed in your new school. No question is a silly question. As an NQT you are not expected to know everything or be able to do everything.
2. Start as you mean to go on
People always say don’t smile in the classroom until Christmas. I get it, however, it’s crucial to make strong relationships with your students from an early stage in order to get respect and to keep the children engaged. Set clear expectations for behaviour from the beginning and stick to it.
3. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Things are not always going to go to plan. As teachers, we’re hard on ourselves and we fail to see our successes. When you receive praise, don’t downplay it and when things don’t go to plan just take a deep breath and remember that even those who have been in the profession for many years have down days.
4. Make the best use of training, development and networking opportunities
Your school will provide you with professional development both in school or through other organisations within the local authority. Take full advantage of these opportunities and put them into practice and reflect on their effectiveness. The NQT Partnership also offers a number of CPD/Training opportunities tailored specifically to your needs.
5. Try not to feel overwhelmed by your workload
Make a clear work plan and manage your time effectively. Work/Life balance is crucial to avoid ‘teacher burnout’.
6. Build a strong relationship with your mentor
Trust and respect are critical to this relationship from both sides. Don’t expect them to take on your workload or be your ‘therapist’ but do rely on them to be your first port of call in the early days.
7. Take control of your own development and progress
As an NQT, it sometimes feels like there is a lot that is out of your control. You can start to drive the agenda of your own development needs as the year goes on. Feel empowered to take risks and remember that the impact you have on your pupils is within your own control.
8. Use your NQT/PPA time wisely
You are entitled to 10% off the timetable in addition to your PPA time for NQT related activities. As tempting as it may be, don’t use your NQT time for marking and planning. Add evidence to your portfolio, reflect on recent strategies you’ve tried or observe best practice within your school or another local school. Allow this time for you to become a better teacher.
9. Look after yourself
You don’t need to be the first one in and the last one out each day. Work-life balance is crucial. Turn to your support network, make time for your friends and family.
10. Finally….. Remember your why
Maybe you have a passion for your subject, or you enjoy working with young people, or maybe you want to do something that really feels like you are making a difference. Whatever it is, write it down now and use it to help you remember the bigger picture when you go through a tricky period. Share it with your mentor – they can remind you when you most need to hear it.
YOU WILL do an amazing job, your dedication will pay off.