Just recently I have been in contact with The Educator otherwise known as @TheEducator_UK on Twitter. They have established themselves as a dedicated job site for UK education professionals. On looking through their tweets they are much more than that. They are tweeting items of educational interest and also they are in the early stages of providing a free teaching and learning resource library for teachers. That is where my involvement began. I was asked by Tom, the tweeter, if I would be willing to share any of my teaching resources. In reality as I teach in a special school many of my resources are bespoke to the individual child and may not be much use to others. I agreed to help by writing my top 5 tips for NQTs.
They are in no order other than what sprung in to mind as I was writing.
1. Get to know your class before attempting to teach them. Find out their interests, their behaviours, family members and what makes them tick. Show them that you care about them and gain their trust. Ignore any silly advice you may have heard such as ‘don’t smile before Christmas’. That’s nonsense. Your class must know you are human too.
2. Once you have established trust with your class you can set some ground rules. Everyone knows that making class rules is important. I’m a firm believer in making them with the children so they have ownership of the rules. Whatever you do with behaviour management you must be fair and consistent. Each child should know that the same behaviour will result in the same reward or sanction. This is important in terms of trust.
3. Don’t try to go it alone. As a brand new teacher you are just learning your craft. There are plenty of people around school who can help you. Your mentor should be your first port of call as they are the ones especially trained to help NQTs. Remember your mentor won’t be there for ever so take full advantage of this programme of support while it’s available. Take advice from more experienced colleagues in school. Remember, not all advice is good advice and learn to filter out the negative comments.
4. Follow the right people on Twitter. There are many supportive teachers on there who will help you. Surround yourself with the positive, helpful teachers. Take as much from twitter as you can. Ask questions and you will be answered. There is always someone willing to share plans and resources. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Take full advantage of this help and remember to publicly say thank you. A little thanks goes a long way as we all know.
5. Your most valuable resource is your TA. Quite often they have years of valuable experience and you need their help. Respect them for their wisdom and seek their advice. You will not be sorry. Look after them and they will be there to help and guide you.
6. Sorry, I can’t restrict myself to 5 points. Mind your own well being. Don’t go in early and come home late. Do not get sucked in to feeling that the best teachers work 24/7. This is not true. Look after yourself and remember you are only human. Restrict yourself to working only one afternoon at the weekend and remember to have outside interests. You will be no use to the children or your school if you burn out. Lastly, do not try to get to the end of your ‘to do’ list. It isn’t possible!
I hope these tips help you to survive your first year in teaching. Good luck 😃