The following article comes from primary NQT Rachel Martin, who shares her top tips for surviving your NQT induction year.

If you are reading this then you have either recently secured your first teaching post so congratulations! Or if you are still applying for your dream job then do not stress, the right one will appear soon. So, what are the biggest tips and tricks to get you ready for your first year of teaching?

Your Dream Classroom

Being in lockdown right now is a fantastic opportunity for you to get prepared for what your dream classroom will look like. Firstly, check with your school and discuss with either your mentor or the head teacher on their policy regarding classroom displays.

Some schools love a working wall, others don’t. Some schools love colour, others like neutrals. Some schools focus on topic displays, others don’t. It is super important to know this before starting at a school as you may spend hours creating resources that are applicable within your school.

Once you find out these key details, get started on getting prepared. For display inspiration check out Pinterest and another teachers’ Instagram accounts! Invest in a good laminator and guillotine and you will not regret it! Laminating displays and resources is a must for a few reasons:

1) It makes everything look more aesthetically pleasing and if you are a perfectionist like me, this is a must!

2) It makes everything more durable. Resources don’t last long especially if they are used every day by various children therefore it is important to make these last as long as possible.

Implement Behaviour Strategies

As well as preparing resources, I would also recommend discussing the behaviour policy of your school and choose a behaviour management system for your own classroom.

There is a range of different strategies to use for behaviour and having these ready to implement with your own class is important. Some things will work for others and not work for your class. It is a system of trial and error which is why I think it can be useful to know about a range of strategies that you have already prepared making them easy to implement within the classroom.

Simple but effective strategies include the use of praise cards which you can buy or make yourself or the use of marble jars which result in a prize being won. However, it is also important to note that you want to avoid overuse of behaviour strategies as this may become overwhelming for children. I recommend using one strategy for individual behaviours and one for group work as this will cover almost all activities within the class.

Study The Curriculum

As well as preparing resources, I would also recommend discussing the behaviour policy of your school and choose a behaviour management system for your own classroom.

There is a range of different strategies to use for behaviour and having these ready to implement with your own class is important. Some things will work for others and not work for your class. It is a system of trial and error which is why I think it can be useful to know about a range of strategies that you have already prepared making them easy to implement within the classroom.

Simple but effective strategies include the use of praise cards which you can buy or make yourself or the use of marble jars which result in a prize being won. However, it is also important to note that you want to avoid overuse of behaviour strategies as this may become overwhelming for children. I recommend using one strategy for individual behaviours and one for group work as this will cover almost all activities within the class.

Ask Questions!

Another huge tip is asking questions. Even if they sound stupid in your head, if you don’t ask the question you will never know! Mentors are there to support you as an NQT so don’t be afraid to ask for that support. Similarly, reach out to other teachers, both in school and in the wider teaching community and ask questions.

Questions to ask NQT mentor

Here are some of my top tip questions to ask your mentor:

What stationery will be available to me in my classroom? An important question to ask as you can overspend and go crazy on buying stationery, half of which you will either get given to you or you will never use. So, ask before buying!

What are the breaktime duty rules and responsibilities? I arrived at school and found out that I was on the first Monday break time duty – safe to say I was thrown in at the deep end. Some schools may use a whistle to alert the end of, or a bell – be sure to find these out and invest in a good whistle if needed.

What CPD will be available to me throughout my year as an NQT? There is a range of CPD courses put on specifically for first-year teachers therefore it is important to have access to these to continually develop as a teacher.

What terms are used to speak to parents/carers and what is the recommended way to do this? Something that I have had to adapt to this year is addressing parents and carers as adults due to the sensitive nature that some of my children are cared for. This is also super important as parental communication is key in building a good rapport with your children’s parents and it is something that until you are in your first year of teaching you might not necessarily do.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and have picked up some top tips and tricks for your NQT year. Be sure to check out my social media pages and do not hesitate to message me for my top tips or advice!

Author Rachel Martin

Author

Rachel Martin

Rachel, originally from Northern Ireland, has lived in Lancashire for the last four years where she studied her undergrad degree in Primary Modern Languages Education with QTS at Edge Hill University.

Miss Martin is currently a NQT teaching in a Year 3/4 class, but moving to year 5 in September.

Follow Rachel on Twitter – @missmartin_prim

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