So, to help prepare you for the eventful journey you are about to embark on; here are our top 7 tips on how to survive and succeed in your first academic year as an NQT.
Discover and hone your own teaching style
If you’re an overly excited NQT, you have probably spent your summer going through an archive of different teaching methods that you will most likely adopt for your first year.
Most NQTs have an innate sense to employ traditional teaching styles for their induction year, and while this approach is often handy; it is also important to test the waters and approach new theories. Don’t forget, your classroom, your rules.
But before introducing any contemporary methods to the classroom; why not read up on evidence-based research, over the summer break, to ensure the techniques are effective. Fostering a new approach is only useful when it’s easy for students to grasp, and when it proves to make a positive impact to the atmosphere and learning in your classroom.
It is very common for NQTs to fall into a habit of working outside school hours, but in doing so you are causing extra stress to your workload. Managing work and social life is easier said than done; however it is vital to prioritise your well-being over anything else. Whether it’s going for a morning run or taking the evening out to spend quality time with family and friends; balancing work and social life is the key to a happy and healthy teacher.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Saying no to colleagues that are contributing to your workload and stress levels does not mean you’re weak, nor does it define your capabilities as a teacher. Rejecting extra work that prevents you from having a social life is not something to feel guilty about, and your colleagues will not think any less of you if you communicate this in a friendly and professional manner.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness
Talk about your doubts and don’t be afraid to seek further help.
As a newly qualified teacher, you are still trying to adapt to the school environment and often when managing 30 kids or more, it is expected for things to spiral out of control. But before second guessing your chosen career or your teaching abilities, contact your mentor. They are there to help make your experience feel less complexed, so why not tap into their wisdom and make use of their assistance. Observing colleagues is a great way to identify new teaching techniques and improve on your own practice.
Teach with enthusiasm
According to a 2015 study conducted my Microsoft, the attention span of young people is shorter than a goldfish, due to technology access. NQTs must bear this information in mind and discover new and creative ways to sustain their pupils’ attention in the classroom. Being positive and enthusiastic about your chosen subject is a great way to kick-start your lesson. Kids are more likely to engage in your class if you demonstrate the same excitement and passion you expect from them.
Socialise with colleagues
Being the new teacher in school is just as nerve-wracking as being the new pupil. Overcome your nerves by socialising with colleagues at lunchtime or outside the school grounds. Find out what their plans are after school or ask about the staff societies available to discover your interests. Whether it’s the staff football team or perhaps you enjoy a nice visit to the pub, be open-minded and invite your new colleagues for a chance to get to know them better.
Accept and embrace your mistakes
As an NQT, you are still in the early stage of your career. Therefore, it is certain that a few slip-ups will be made along the way, but that’s also okay. It is important to recognise and accept your mistakes, as this will guide you when reflecting on what went wrong and help improve your practice. Revisit and explore old notes from your PGCE training course on teaching and learning theories. Alternatively, get in touch with your mentor and discuss candidly about your mistakes. Remember, they are not there to pass judgement but merely to offer some assistance.
August 23, 2018