Session 267: Advice for NQT’s

Thursday 27th August 2015

This ?#?ukedchat? session was hosted by @TLPMrsF with an emphasis on supporting Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs).

The session asked:

1. What would your advice be for what an NQT should do to prepare for September? (8.01 pm)
2. What advice would you give an NQT for meeting their new classes for the first time? (8.11 pm)
3. What are your top tips for getting through the first term? (8.21 pm)
4. How did your NQT year differ from your training year? (8.31 pm)
5. What do you wish somebody had told you when you were an NQT? (8.41 pm)
6. Your ONE word piece of advice would be? (8.51 pm)


The session began by asking how NQTs could prepare for the start of term. Whilst some advocated planning for the first couple of weeks, there were others who suggested it was better to avoid planning too far ahead and to wait until you’d met classes. Other practical suggestions included reading relevant policy documents and @Jivespin advised NQTs use the end of the holidays to find as many resources and ideas as possible – Twitter being a good place to start. @jw_teach thought it important that NQTs prepared by reflecting on their values about teaching and learning and prepare to be challenged.

The chat moved on to how NQTs might approach meeting their new classes for the first time. A common theme in the responses was the need to set clear expectations, show an interest in students and get to know names. @miss_ks1 recommended being confident, showing an interest and having fun with students. @reachoutASC suggested NQTs should ignore the old adage of not smiling before Christmas and instead ensure they smile during their first lessons and @PadronPepperz advised giving lots of eye contact. Finally, @C_Hendrick advocated lining students up to them sit them alphabetically from the register.

The Autumn term is long, progressively dark and demanding. There was a range of advice offered up for how an NQT could survive. @NQTCareers suggested that keeping on top of assessments and planning was key but there was also a general concern that NQTs look out for their wellbeing. @BexN91 warned that NQTs should not get into the habit of working every evening and weekend and should try and find something positive about every day. @JMcKay1972 advised listening and taking on board quality advice and not being afraid to ask for help. Prioritising sleep, and making time for responsible drinking, was also rated pretty highly! @WellsportsPhil summed the advice up by saying that the NQT year is a marathon not a sprint – it’s a ridiculously busy term even for experienced teachers so it is important to prioritise, rest and also reflect on their teaching and learning.

On the topic of how the NQT year differed from the training year, many felt it was better because they had more freedom, ownership of their classes and ability to establish who they were as a teacher. @jwscattergood said that it was a steeper learning cure, he was responsible for each and every class but he loved it. @Miss_munro1 described it as overwhelming, interesting and exciting. One key difference, offered by @MrClarkeEnglish, was that in the NQT year there’s less need for forced written reflection and more space for genuine, beneficial responses to one’s own teaching. Finally, @Gar_S_King summed up the difference with the analogy of passing your driving test – you really learn to teach after you’ve qualified.

The session moved on to ask what contributors wish somebody had told them when they were an NQT. @miss_ks1 wished that she’d been told that you shouldn’t try and do everything – there’s always more that you can do and you need to accept that you will never be ‘finished’. @becky_teach said she’d have liked somebody to tell her to have more faith in her abilities and to put forward her own ideas. Whilst some didn’t have Twitter when they were NQTs, many wished they’d been told to join it during their NQT year.

The session was brought to a close by asking for ONE word pieces of advice for NQTs. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Breathe (@becky_teach); Brave (@JMcKay1972); Develop (@miss_ks1); Enjoy (@WellsportsPhil, @milliebean2601 and @neilawilkie); Engage (@siouxbaxter); Inspirational (@Mroberts90Matt); Laugh (@MrClarkeEnglish); Learn (@LouiseSimpson58); Optimism (@BexN91); Organisation (@MissAVECarter); Pace (@ukedchat); Persevere (@gailabbitt); Relationships (@PadronPepperz); Sleep (@TLPMrsF); Smile (@AllThingsMaths); Stickability (@Jivespin); Support (@NQTCareers).

About your Host:

@TLPMrsF is a Lead Practitioner of English in a school in outer London. She loves teaching, reading and chocolate…

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